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" The Trustees of the Publication Fund of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania " 
have published nine volumes, viz. : 

The History of Braddock s Expedition. 

Contributions to American History. 

Record of Upland, and Denny s Journal. 

Reissue of Vol. I of the Memoirs. 

Minutes of Defence of Philadelphia, 1814-1815. 

Correspondence of Penn and Logan, Vols. i and 2. 

History of New Sweden, by Israel Acrelius. 

Heckewelder s History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations. 

The investments held by the trustees of the Fund now amount to twenty-three thou 
sand dollars, the interest only of which is applied to publishing. By the payment of 
twenty-five dollars, any one may become entitled to receive, during his or her life, 
all the publications of the Society. Libraries so subscribing are entitled to receive 
books for the term of twenty years. 

The Society desire it to be understood that they are not answerable for any 
opinions or observations that may appear in their publications: the Editors of the 
several works being alone responsible for the same. 


AUBREY H. SMITH, ^ Trustees. 


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, by 


in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 














WELDER, the author of "An Account of the 
History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian 
Nations who once inhabited Pennsylvania and the neigh 
boring States," was born March I2th, 1743, at Bedford, 
England. His father, who was a native of Moravia, a 
few years after his arrival at Herrnhut, Saxony, was 
summoned to England to assist in the religious move 
ment which his church had inaugurated in that country 
in 1734. In his eleventh year, the subject of this sketch 
accompanied his parents to the New World, and became 
a resident of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Here he was 
placed at school, and next apprenticed to a cedar-cooper. 
While thus employed, he was permitted to gratify a desire 
he had frequently expressed of becoming an evangelist to 
the Indians, when in the spring of 1762 he was called to 
accompany the well-known Christian Frederic Post, who 
had planned a mission among the tribes of the then far 
west, to the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum. Here 
Post, in the summer of 1761, had built himself a cabin (it 
stood near the site of the present town of Bolivar), and 
here on the nth day of April, 1762, the intrepid mission 
ary and his youthful assistant began their labors in the 
Gospel. But the times were unpropitious, and the hostile 


attitude of the Indians indicating a speedy resumption of 
hostilities with the whites, the adventurous enterprise was 
abandoned before the expiration of the year. Young 
Heckewelder returned to Bethlehem, and the war of 
Pontiac s conspiracy opened in the spring of 1763. 

In the interval between 1765 and 1771, Mr. Hecke 
welder was, on several occasions, summoned from his 
cooper s shop to do service for the mission. Thus, in 
the summer of the first mentioned year, he spent several 
months at Friedenshiitten, on the Susquehanna (Wya- 
lusing, Bradford county, Pennsylvania), where the Mora 
vian Indians had been recently settled in a body, after a 
series of most trying experiences, to which their residence 
on the frontiers and in the settlements of the Province 
subjected them, at a time when the inroads of the savages 
embittered the public mind indiscriminately against the 
entire race. This post he visited subsequently on sev 
eral occasions, and also the town of Schechschiquanink 
(Sheshequin), some thirty miles north of Wyalusing, the 
seat of a second mission on the Susquehanna. 

A new period in the life of Mr. Heckewelder opened 
with the autumn of 1771, when he entered upon his 
actual career as an evangelist to the Indians, sharing the 
various fortunes of the Moravian mission among that 
people for fifteen years, than which none perhaps in its 
history were more eventful. The well-known missionary 
David Zeisberger, having in 1768 established a mission 
among a clan of Monseys on the Allegheny, within the 
limits of what is now Venango county, was induced in 
the spring of 1770 to migrate with his charge to the Big 
Beaver, and to settle at a point within the jurisdiction 
of the Delawares of Kaskaskunk. Here he built Frie- 
densstadt, and hither the Moravian Indians of Friedens 
hiitten and Schechschiquanink removed in the summer 


of 1772. Mr. Heckewelder was appointed Zeisberger s 
assistant in the autumn of 1771, and when in the spring 
of 1773 Friedensstadt was evacuated (it stood on the 
Beaver, between the Shenango and the Slippery Rock, 
within the limits of the present Lawrence county), and the 
seat of the mission was transferred to the valley of the 
Muskingum, Mr. Heckewelder became a resident of the 
Ohio country. Here in succession were built Schonbrunn, 
Gnadenhiitten, Lichtenau and Salem, flourishing towns 
of Moravian Indians, and here our missionary labored 
with his associates hopefully, and with the promise of a 
great ingathering, when the rupture between the mother 
country and her transatlantic colonies, gradually in 
volved them and their cause in the most perplexing 
complications. On the opening of the western border- 
war of the Revolution in the spring of 1 777, the Moravian 
missionaries on the Muskingum realized the danger of 
their position. Strictly neutral as they and their converts 
were in reference to the great question at issue, their 
presence on debatable ground rendered them objects of 
suspicion alternately to each of the contending parties ; 
and when, in i 780, the major part of the Delaware nation 
declared openly for the British crown, it was evident that 
the mission could not much longer hold its ground. It 
was for the British to solve the problem ; and at their 
instigation, in the autumn of 1781, the missionaries and 
their converts in part were removed to Upper Sandusky, 
as prisoners of war, under suspicion of favoring the 
American cause. Thence the former were twice sum 
moned to Detroit, the seat of British dominion in the 
then Northwest, and arraigned before the commandant 
of that post. Having established their innocence, and 
at liberty once more to resume their Christian work, the 
Moravians resolved upon establishing themselves in the 


neighborhood of Detroit, with the view of collecting their 
scattered converts, and gradually resuscitating the mis 
sion. The point selected was on the Huron (now the 
Clinton), forty miles by water northwest of Detroit. 
Here they built New Gnadenhtitten, in 1 782. Four years 
later, New Gnadenhiitten was abandoned, and a settle 
ment effected on the Cuyahoga, in the present county of 
that name in northern Ohio. It was here that Mr. Heck- 
ewelder closed his missionary labors, and years memora 
ble in his life, in the course of which he was " in journey- 
ings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in 
perils of his countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in 
perils in the wilderness, in weariness, in watchings often, 
in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and naked 
ness," and yet spared, as to his life, to a good old age, in 
the quiet days of which, when resting from his labors, he 
drew up a narrative of this remarkable period in his own 
experience, and in the history of his church. 

On severing his connection with the mission on the 
Cuyahoga, in the autumn of 1786, Mr. Heckewelder 
settled with his wife (Sarah m. n. Ohneberg, whom he 
married in 1780), and two daughters at Bethlehem. This 
change, however, brought him no rest, as much of his 
time for the next fifteen years was devoted to the inter 
ests of his church s work among the Indians, in behalf of 
which he made frequent and trying journeys to the west. 

In the summer of 1792, Mr. Heckewelder was associ 
ated by Government with General Rufus Putnam (at that 
gentleman s request), to treat for peace with the Indians 
of the Wabash, and journeyed on this mission as far as 
Post Vincennes, where, on the 27th of September, articles 
of peace were formally signed by thirty-one chiefs of the 
Seven Nations represented at the meeting. This was a 
high testimonial of confidence in his knowledge of Indian 


life and Indian affairs. In the spring of the following 
year, he was a second time commissioned to assist at a 
treaty which the United States purposed to ratify with 
the Indians of the Miami of the Lake, through its ac 
credited agents, General Benjamin Lincoln, Colonel 
Timothy Pickering, and Beverly Randolph. On this 
mission he travelled as far as Detroit. The remuneration 
Mr. Heckewelder received for these services, was judi 
ciously economized for his old age, his immediate wants 
being supplied by his handicraft, and the income accruing 
from a nursery which he planted on his return from the 
western country. In the interval between 1797 and 
1800, the subject of this sketch visited the Ohio country 
four times, and in 1801 he removed with his family to 
Gnadenhiitten, on the Tuscarawas branch of the Musk- 
ingum. Here he remained nine years, having been in 
trusted by the Society of the United Brethren for Propa 
gating the Gospel among the Heathen, founded at Beth 
lehem, in 1788, with the superintendence of a reserva 
tion of i 2,000 acres of land on the Tuscarawas, granted 
by Congress to the said Society for the benefit of the 
Moravian Indians, as a consideration for the losses they 
incurred in the border-war of the Revolution. During 
his residence in Ohio, Mr. Heckewelder was also for a 
time in the civil service, being a postmaster, a justice of 
the peace, and an associate judge of the Court of Com 
mon Pleas. 

In 1810 he returned to Bethlehem,, built a house of 
his own, which is still standing, planted the premises with 
trees and shrubs from their native forest, surrounded 
himself with birds and wild flowers, and through these 
beautiful things of nature, sought by association to pro 
long fellowship with his beloved Indians in their distant 
woodland homes. He was called in 1815 to mourn the 
departure of his wife to the eternal world. 


At a time when there was a growing spirit of inquiry 
among men of science in our country in the department 
of Indian archaeology, it need not surprise us that Mr. 
Heckewelder was sought out in his retirement, and 
called upon to contribute from the treasure-house of his 
experience. In this way originated his intimacy with 
Du Ponceau and Wistar of the American Philosophical 
Society, and that career of literary labor to which he 
dedicated the latter years of his life. In addition to 
occasional essays, which are incorporated in the Trans 
actions of the Historical and Literary Committee of that 
society, Mr. Heckewelder, in 1818, published under its 
auspices, the "Account of the History, Manners, and 
Customs of the Indian Nations who once inhabited Penn 
sylvania and the neighboring States." His " Narrative of 
the Mission of the United Brethren among the Delaware 
and Mohican Indians," appeared in 1820, and in 1822 
he prepared his well-known collection of "Names, which 
the Lenni Lenape, or Delaware Indians, gave to Rivers, 
Streams, and Localities within the States of Pennsyl 
vania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, with their 
Significations." This was his last literary effort ; another 
year of suffering, and on the 3ist of January, 1823, the 
friend of the Delawares having lived to become a hoary 
old man of seventy-nine winters, passed away. 

He left three daughters, Johanna Maria, born April 6, 
1781, at Salem, Tuscarawas county, Ohio the first white 
female child born within the borders of that State (she 
died at Bethlehem, September 19, 1868) ; Anna Salome, 
born August 13, 1784, at New Gnadenhutten, on the 
River Huron (Clinton), Michigan; she married Mr. 
Joseph Rice, of Bethlehem, and died January 15, 1857; 
and Susanna, born at Bethlehem, December 31, 1786; 
she married Mr. J. Christian Luckenbach, of Bethlehem! 
and died February 8, 1867. 


Mr. Heckewelder was a fair representative of the 
Moravian missionaries of the last century, a class of men 
whose time was necessarily divided between the dis 
charge of spiritual and secular duties ; who preached 
the Gospel and administered the Sacraments in houses 
built by their own hands ; who wielded the axe, as well 
as the sword of the Spirit, and who by lives of self-denial 
and patient endurance, sustained a mission among the 
aborigines of this country in the face of disappointments 
and obstacles, which would have discouraged any but 
men of their implicit faith in the Divine power of the 
Christian religion. 

The subject of this notice made no pretensions to 
scholarship on taking the author s pen in hand. He was 
eminently an artless man, and artlessness is his char 
acteristic as a writer. The fascinating volume to which 
this brief sketch is deemed a sufficient introduction, was 
received with almost unqualified approbation on its ap 
pearance in 1818. It was translated into German by Fr. 
Hesse, a clergyman of Nienburg, and published at Got- 
tingen in 1821. A French translation by Du Ponceau 
appeared in Paris in 1822. True, there were those who 
subsequently took exception to Mr. Heckewelder s mani 
fest predilection for the Lenape stock of the North Amer 
ican Indians, and others who charged him with credulity, 
because of the reception of their national traditions and 
myths upon the pages of his book. Knowing, as we do, 
that even the most prudent of men are liable to err in 
their search after truth, it would be presumptuous to claim 
infallibility for our author. It would, however, be as pre 
sumptuous to refuse his statements all claim to respect. 
Hence it may not be denied that John Heckewelder s con 
tributions to Indian archaeology, touching their traditions, 
language, manners, customs, life, and character, while sup 
plying a long-felt want, are worthy of the regard which is 


usually accorded to the literary productions of men whose 
intelligence, honesty, and acquaintance with their subject 
have qualified them to be its expounders. 

In the preparation of his account, Mr. Heckewelder 
acknowledges his indebtedness to Moravian authorities, 
contemporaries, or colleagues of his in the work of mis 
sions among the aborigines of this country. He refers 
frequently to the Rev. J. Christopher Pyrlaeus, and intro 
duces extracts from the collection of notes and mem 
oranda made by that clergyman during his sojourn in 
America. His references to Loskiel, the historian of the 
Moravian mission among the North American Indians, 
are more frequent. In fact, it is evident that he availed 
himself largely of the introductory chapters of that history, 
the material of which was furnished to Loskiel by the 
veteran missionary, David Zeisberger. In this way then, 
Mr. Heckewelder supplemented his personal experience, 
and the knowledge he had gained by intercourse with the 
Indians, touching those subjects of which he treats in his 
charming narrative. 

Both the text and the author s footnotes, as found in 
the edition of 1818, are faithfully reproduced in the pres 
ent issue ; neither have been tampered with in a single 
instance. Such a course was deemed the only proper 
one, although it was conceded that the omission of occa 
sionally recurrent passages, and a reconstruction of por 
tions of the volume might render the matter more per 
spicuous, and the book more readable, without detracting 
from its value as a repository of well authenticated facts.* 

* The annotations in brackets are by the Editor. 















DEAR SIR. Having, at your particular request, undertaken the ar 
duous task of giving to the Historical Committee of our Society an 
Account of those Indian Nations and Tribes which once inhabited Penn 
sylvania and the adjoining States, including those who are known by the 
name of the " Six Nations ; " I have now, as far as has been in my power, 
complied with your wishes, or at least I have endeavoured so to do. 

Foreseeing the difficulties I should labour under, in writing the history 
of a people, of whom so many had already written, I could not but con 
sider the undertaking both as unpleasant and hazardous ; being aware, 
that it would be impossible for me in all respects to coincide with those 
who have written before me ; among whom there are not a few, who, 
although their good intentions cannot be doubted, yet from their too 
short residence in the country of the Indians, have not had sufficient 
opportunities to acquire the knowledge which they undertake to commu 
nicate. Ignorant of the language, or being but superficially acquainted 
with it, they have relied on ignorant or careless interpreters, by whom 
they have been most frequently led astray; in what manner, this little 
work will abundantly shew. 

The sure way to obtain correct ideas, and a true knowledge of the 
characters, customs, manners, &c., of the Indians, and to learn their 
history, is to dwell among them for some time, and having acquired 
their language, the information wished for will be obtained in the com 
mon way; that is, by paying attention to their discourses with each 
other on different subjects, and occasionally asking them questions ; al 
ways watching for the proper opportunity, when they do not suspect 
your motives, and are disposed to be free and open with you. 

The political state and connexions of the two once great and rival 
nations, the Mengwe, (or Six Nations) and the Lenape (or Delawares, 
as we call them), being little, or but imperfectly known to many of us, 
I have been at some pains in unfolding the origin and true cause of 
their rivalship ; and the means resorted to by the one nation, to bring 
2 xvii 


themselves into consequence with the white people, for the purpose of 
subduing the other. 

How far the Six Nations have succeeded in this, we know ; at least, 
we know so much, that they sold the country of the Lenape, Mohicans, 
and other tribes connected with them, by piecemeals to the English, so 
that they were finally obliged to wander to the West, while their enemies, 
during all this time, remained in full and quiet possession of their country. 

If we ought, or wish to know the history of those nations from whom 
we have obtained the country we now live in, we must also wish to be in 
formed of the means by which that country fell into our hands, and 
what has become of its original inhabitants. To meet this object, I have 
given their traditions respecting their first coming into our country, 
and their own history of the causes of their emigrating from it. 

On all the subjects which I have treated respecting the different tribes, 
I have endeavoured to be impartial. Yet, if I should still be thought to 
have shewn some partiality for the Delawares and their connexions, with 
respect to the affairs between them and the Six Nations, I have only to 
reply, that we have been attentive to all the Six Nations told us of these 
people, until we got possession of their whole country ; and now, having 
what we wanted, we ought not to turn them off with this story on their 
backs, but rather, out of gratitude and compassion, give them also a hear 
ing, and acquit them honourably, if we find them deserving of it. 

What I have written, concerning their character, their customs, man 
ners, and usages, is from personal knowledge, and from such other in 
formation as may be relied on ; and in order to be the better understood, 
I have frequently added anecdotes, remarks, and relations of particular 
events. In some instances I have had reference to authors, and manu 
script notes taken dow-n upwards of seventy years since, by individuals 
well deserving of credit. 

To you, Sir, I need not apologise for my deficiency in point of style 
and language, which has been known to you long since. I have en 
deavoured to make amends for this defect, by being the more careful 
and correct in my narrations, so as at least to make up in matter what 
in manner may be deficient. 

I am, Sir, with great respect, 

Your obedient humble servant, 
November, 1817. JOHN HECKEWELDER. 

SINCE the above was written, my excellent friend DR. WISTAR has departed this 
life, lamented by the whole country, of which he was an ornament. To me he was 
more than I can express; he directed and encouraged my humble labours, and to 
his approbation I looked up as my best reward. He is gone, but his name and his 
virtues will long be held in remembrance. By me, at least, they shall never be for- 
gotten. This Dedication, therefore, will remain, as a testimony of the high respecl 
I bore to this great and good man while living, and as a tribute justly due to his 
memory. j j 

BETHLEHEM, March, 1818. 






DEDICATION ............. xvii 





YORK ISLAND .......... 71 


THEM ............ 76 


V. THE IROQUOIS ........... 95 


VII. GowTfVMF.NT ........... IO7 

VIII. EDUCATION ........... 113 

IX. LANGUAGES ........... 118 


XL ORATORY ............ 132 


XIII. INDIAN NAMES ........... 141 








XXI. PEACE MESSENGERS .......... 181 

XXII. TREATIES ............ 185 









V/XXIX. REMEDIES ........... 







DRUNKENNESS .......... 

FUNERALS ........... 



USKUND ........... 


KNOWLEDGE .......... 




CONCLUSION . .......... 



J 93 

2 8 
22 4 
2 3 J 
2 39 
2 45 
2 49 
2 57 
261 , 
2 68 

2 77 

3 6 


3 l8 





































. 376 


j, 220 JULY 

. 380 


*, 3isT JULY . 




- 395 

- 399 




. 409 



. 416 


. 422 


. 426 






gHE reader of the following pages, having already seen 
what has induced me to come forward with an his 
torical account of the Indians, after so many have 
written on the same subject, will perhaps look for 
something more extraordinary- in this than in other works of 
the kind which he has seen. Not wishing any one to raise his 
expectations too high, I shall briefly state that I have not 
written to excite astonishment, but for the information of those 
who are desirous of knowing the true history of those people, 
who, for centuries, have been in full possession of the country 
we now inhabit ; but who have since emigrated to a great dis 
tance. I can only assure them, that I have not taken the infor 
mation here communicated from the writings of others, but from 
the mouths of the very people I am going to speak of, and from 
my own observation of what I have witnessed while living 
among them. I have, however, occasionally quoted other 
authors, and in some instances copied short passages from their 
works, especially where I have thought it necessary to illustrate 
or corroborate my own statements of facts. 

In what I have written concerning the character, customs, 
manners, and usages of these people, I cannot have been 
deceived, since it is the result of personal knowledge, of what 
I myself have seen, heard, and witnessed, while residing among 
and near them, for more than thirty years. I have however to 
remark, that this history, like other histories of former times, 
will not in every respect comport with the character of the 
Indians at the present time, since all these nations and tribes, by 


their intercourse with the white people, have lost much of the 
honourable and virtuous qualities which they once possessed, 
and added to their vices and immorality. Of this, no one can 
be a better judge than a missionary residing among them. And 
if, 1 what these people told us more than half a century ago ; that 
lying, stealing, and other vicious acts, before the white men came 
among them, were considered as crimes, we may safely conclude 
and we know it to be fact that from that time to this, and 
especially within the last forty years, they have so much degen 
erated, that a delineation of their present character would bear 
no resemblance to what it was before. It is therefore the his 
tory of early times, not of the present, that I have written ; and 
to those times my delineations of their character must be con 
sidered to apply; yet, to shew the contrast, I have also deline 
ated some of their present features. 

It may be proper to mention in this place, that I have made 
use of the proper national name of the people whom we call 
Delaware*, which is: "Lewd Lenape" Yet, as they, in the common 
way of speaking, merely pronounce the word "Lenape" I have, 
in most instances, when speaking of them, used this word singly. 
I have also made use of the word "Mengwe" or Mingoes, the 
name by which the Lenape commonly designate the people 
known to us by the name of the Iroquois, and Five or Six Nations. 
I shall give at the end a general list of all the names I have 
made use of in this communication, to which I refer the reader 
for instruction. 

As the Indians, in all their public speeches and addresses, 
speak in the singular number, I have sometimes been led to 
follow their example, when reporting what they have said; I 
have also frequently, by attending particularly to the identical 
words spoken by them, copied their peculiar phrases, when I 
might have given their meaning in other words. 

On the origin of the Indians, I have been silent, leaving this 
speculation to abler historians than myself. To their history, 
and notions with regard to their creation, I have given a place ; 
and have also briefly related the traditions of the Lenape on the 

1 Between the words "*/" and wfat" insert " we can credit." 


subject of their arrival at, and crossing the river Mississippi, 
their coming to the Atlantic coast, what occurred to them while 
in this country, and their retreat back again. 

As the relation of the Delawares and Mohicans, concerning 
the policy adopted and pursued by the Six Nations towards 
them, may perhaps appear strange to many, and it may excite 
some astonishment, that a matter of such importance was not 
earlier set forth in the same light, I shall here, by way of intro 
duction, and for the better understanding of the account which 
they give of this matter, examine into some facts, partly known 
to us already, and partly now told us in their relation ; so that 
we may see how far these agree together, and know what we 
may rely upon. 

It is conceded on all sides that the Lenape and Iroquois car 
ried on long and bloody wars with each other ; but while the 
one party assert, that they completely conquered the other, and 
reduced them by force to the condition of women, this assertion 
is as strongly and pointedly denied by the other side ; I have 
therefore thought that the real truth of this fact was well deserv 
ing of investigation. 

The story told by the Mingoes to the white people, of their 
having conquered the Lenape and made women of them, was 
much too implicitly believed ; for the whites always acted 
towards the Delawares under the impression that it was true, 
refused even to hear their own account of the matter, and " shut 
their ears " against them, when they attempted to inform them 
of the real fact. This denial of common justice, is one of the 
principal complaints of the Lenape against the English, and 
makes a part of the tradition or history which they preserve for 

This complaint indeed, bears hard upon us, and should, at 
least, operate as a solemn call to rectify the error, if such it is 
found to be ; that we, in our history, may not record and trans 
mit erroneous statements of those Aborigines, from whom we 
have received the country we now so happily inhabit. We are 
bound in honour to acquit ourselves of all charges of the kind 
which those people may have against us, who, in the beginning 
welcomed us to their shores, in hopes that " they and we would 


sit beside each other as brothers ; " and it should not be said, 
that now, when they have surrendered their whole country to 
us, and retired to the wilds of a distant country, we turn our 
backs upon them with contempt. 

We know that all Indians have the custom of transmitting to 
posterity, by a regular chain of tradition, the remarkable events 
which have taken place with them at any time, even often events 
of a trivial nature, of which I could mention a number. Ought 
we then, when such a source of information is at hand, to believe 
the story told by the Six Nations, of their having conquered the 
Lenape, (a powerful nation with a very large train of con 
nexions and allies) and forcibly made them women ? Ought we 
not, before we believe this, to look for a tradition of the circum 
stances of so important an event ; for some account, at least, of 
the time, place, or places, where those battles were fought, which 
decided the fate of the Lenape, the Mohicans, and of a number 
of tribes connected with them ? Are we to be left altogether 
ignorant of the numbers that were slain at the time, and the 
country in which this memorable event took place ; whether on 
the St. Lawrence, on the Lakes, in the country of the conquer 
ors, or of the conquered ? All these I am inclined to call first 
considerations, while a second would be : How does this story 
accord with the situation the first Europeans found these people 
in on their arrival in this country ? Were not those who are 
said to be a conquered people, thickly settled on the whole 
length of the sea coast, and far inland, in and from Virginia to 
and beyond the Province of Maine, and had they not yet, at that 
very time, a great National Council Fire burning on the banks 
of the Delaware? Does not the joint tradition of the Dela- 
wares, Mohicans and Nanticokes, inform us, that their great 
National Council House l then extended from the head of the 
tide on the (now) Hudson river, to the head of the tide on the 
Potomack? All this we shall find faithfully copied or written 
down from their verbal tradition, and that this Council House 
"was pulled down by the white people!" 2 and of course was 

1 A figurative expression, denoting the territory claimed by them, and occupied 
at the time, 

Alluding to the white people settling those countries. 


yet standing when they came into the country ; which alone is 
sufficient to prove that the Lenape, at that time, were not a con 
quered people ; and if they had been conquered since, we might 
expect to find the fact, with its particulars, somewhere on record. 
It is admitted, however, by the Lenape themselves, that they 
and their allies were made women by the Iroquois. But how 
did this happen ? Not surely by conquest, or the fate of battle. 
Strange as it may appear, it was not produced by the effects of 
superior force, but by successful intrigue. Here, if my inform 
ants were correct, and I trust they were, rests the great mystery, 
for the particulars of which, I refer the reader to the history of 
the Lenape and Mohicans themselves, as related in part by 
Loskiel in his " History of the Mission of the United Brethren 
among the North American Indians," 1 and in this work. In the 
first, he will find three material points ascertained, viz. 1st, "that 
the Delawares were too strong for the Iroquois, and could not 
be conquered by them by force of arms, but were subdued by 
insidious means. 2d, that the making women of the Delawares 

1 [The book referred to here and elsewhere frequently in the course of his narra 
tive by the author, was written by the Rev. Ge.orge Henry Loskiel, a clergyman of 
the Continental Province of the Moravian Church, and was published at Barby^ 
Saxony, in 1789. It is entitled " Geschichte der Mission der Evangelischen Briider 
unter den Indianern in Nordamerika," and is a faithful record of the Christian work 
in which the Moravians engaged chiefly among the Lenape and Iroquois stocks of 
the aborigines, in the interval between 1735 and 1787. The material on which the 
author wrought in the preparation of his history was furnished mainly from the 
archives of his church at Herrnhut, to which duplicates of the missionaries journals 
were statedly forwarded. In this way he was enabled to produce a narrative which 
is marvellously accurate, even touching minor points of topography, despite the fact 
that the shifting scenes of his drama were laid in another hemisphere. The preface 
was written at Strickenhof, in Livonia, in May of 1788. In it Mr. Loskiel acknowl 
edges his indebtedness for valuable assistance to the venerable Bishop Augustus G. 
Spangenberg, who had superintended the Moravian Mission in the New World in 
the interval between 1744 and 1762; and to the veteran missionary David Zeis- 
berger, at that time still in its service. It was the latter who supplied the larger 
portion of the material relating to the history, traditions, manners, and customs of 
the North American Indians, found in the ten chapters Introductory to the history 
of the Mission. This valuable work was translated into English by the Rev. Chris 
tian Ignatius Latrobe, of London, in 1793, and published there, in 1794, by "The 
Brethren s Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel." It is now a rare book. 
Having been consecrated a Bishop for the American Province of his Church in 1802, 
Mr. Loskiel came to this country, settled at Bethlehem, Pa., where he died in 1814.] 


was not an act of compulsion, but the result of their own free 
will and consent ; and 3d, that the whites were already in the 
country at the time this ceremony took place, since they were to 
hold one end of the great Peace Belt in their hands." ] In the 
following History, which I have taken from the relation of the 
most intelligent and creditable old Indians, both Delawares and 


Mohicans, not only the same facts will be found, but also a more 
minute account of this transaction ; in which it will be shewn, 
that the Dutch not only were present at, but were parties to it, 
that it was in this manner that the Six Nations were relieved 
from the critical situation they were in, at that very time, with 
regard to their enemies, the Delawares, Mohicans, and their 
connexions, and that the white people present coaxed and per 
suaded them to cause the hatchet to be buried, declaring at the 
same time 2 that they " would fall on those who should dig it up 
again ;" which was, on the part of the Hollanders, a declaration 
of war against the Delawares and their allies, if they, or any 
of them, should attempt again to act hostilely against the Six 
Nations. All this, according to the tradition of the Lenape, was 
transacted at a place, since called " Nordman s Kill," a few miles 
from the spot where afterwards Albany was built, and but a 
short time after the Dutch had arrived at New York Island, 
probably between the years 1609 and 1620. 

The Rev. Mr. Pyrlaeus, 3 who had learned the Mohawk Ian- 

/ l Figurative expression. See Loskiel s History, Part I. c. 10.* 
3 For " declaring at the same time " read " and declared afterwards" 
3 [John Christopher Pyrlaeus was sent by the heads of the Moravian Church at 
Herrnhut, Saxony, to Bethlehem, Pa., in the autumn of 1741, to do service in the 
Indian Mission. Having assisted Count Zinzendorf, during his sojourn in the 
Province in 1742, in the work of the ministry among a portion of the German popu 
lation of Philadelphia, we find him, in January of 1743, prosecuting the study of the 
Mohawk under the direction of Conrad Weiser, the provincial interpreter, at Tulpe- 
hocken, (near Womelsdorf, Berks County, Pa.) This was in view of fitting himself 
for the office of corresponding secretary of the Mission Board at Bethlehem, and for 
the duties of an evangelist among the Iroquois stock of Indians, to whom it was 
purposed by the Moravians to bring the Gospel. At the expiration of three months 
he returned to Bethlehem, and in the following June, accompanied by his wife, who 
was a daughter of John Stephen Benezet, a well-known merchant of Philadelphia, 

* [The passage referred to by Mr. Heckewelder is quoted in full by way of annotation on a sub- 
sequent page.] 


guage of Conrad Weiser, and was stationed on the river of that 
name, for some time between the years 1742 and 1748, has 
noted down in a large manuscript book, that his friend there, 
the Mohawk chief, had told him, that at a place about four miles 
from Albany, now called Nordman s Kill, 1 the first covenant had 
been made between the Six Nations and the white people; 
which is in confirmation of the correctness of the above tra 
dition of the Mohicans. 2 

This wa then, according to the best accounts we have, the 
time when this pretended " conquest " took place ; and the 
Delawares, (as the Six Nations have since said) were by them 
made women. It was, however, a conquest of a singular nature, 
effected through duplicity and intrigue, at a council fire, not in 
battle. " And, (say the Delawares and Mohicans, in their tra- 

set out for the Mohawk country, his destination being the Mohawk castle of Cana- 
joharie. Here he remained upwards of two months, in which interval of time he 
visited the remaining Mohawk castles, and by constant intercourse with the Indians 
strove assiduously to perfect himself in their language. Such was his progress then 
and subsequently, that in 1744 he felt himself competent to impart instruction in that 
important dialect of the Iroquois to several of his brethren at Bethlehem, who were 
training for missionaries. In 1748, while settled at Gnadenhutten, on the Mahoning, 
(Lehighton, Carbon County, Pa.,) he rendered similar service. Meanwhile he had 
acquired a knowledge of the Mohican, and in 1745 there appeared his first transla 
tions of German hymns into that tongue the beginnings of a collection for use in 
Divine worship in the Mission churches. Eight of the eleven years of his stay in 
this country were mainly spent in labors of the kind just enumerated. Having been 
liberally educated, Mr. Pyrlseus was well qualified for the work in which he engaged. 
Several of his contributions to this novel department of philology, in manuscript, are 
deposited in the library of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. 
Among these are essays on the grammatical structure of the Iroquois dialects, and a 
collection of notes on Indian traditions. The former Mr. Heckewelder names on a 
subsequent page, and from the latter he makes frequent extracts. In 1751 Mr. Pyr 
lseus sailed for England, where he was active in the ministry of his Church until his 
recall to Germany in 1770. He died at Herrnhut in 1785.] 

1 [Norman s Kill, named after Albert Andriese Bratt De Norman, an early settler 
of Beverwyck, rises in Schenectady County, has a south-east course of about twenty- 
eight miles, and empties into the Hudson, two miles south of Albany, in the town 
of Bethlehem. In records of 1677 it is called Bethlehem s Kil. The Indian name 
of the stream was Tawalsantha. In the spring of 1617 the United New Netherlands 
Company erected a fort near the banks of Norman s Kill, and in 1621 the Dutch 
made a solemn alliance and treaty of peace with the Five Nations, near its mouth. 
Munscirs Collections of the History of Albany. Albany, 1870.] 

2 For " Mohicans " read 


dition,) when the English took the country from the Dutche- 
maan, (Hollanders) they stepped into the same alliance with 
the Six Nations, which their predecessors had established with 

Golden, in his " History of the Five Nations," x informs us, 
page 34, that this took place in the year 1664; and in page 36, 
gives us full proof of this alliance, by the following account 
He says : " The Five Nations being now amply supplied by the 
English with fire-arms and ammunition, gave full swing to their 
warlike genius, and soon resolved to revenge the affronts they 
had at any time received from the Indian nations that lived at a 
greater distance from them. The nearest nations, as they were 
attacked, commonly fled to those that were further off, and the 
Five Nations pursued them. This, together with the desire they 
had of conquering, or ambition of making all the nations around 
them their tributaries, or to make them acknowledge the Five 
Nations to be so far their masters, as to be absolutely directed 
by them in all affairs of peace and war with their neighbours, 
made them overrun great part of North America. They carried 
their arms as far south as Carolina; to the northward of New 
England ; and as far west as the river Mississippi ; over a vast 
country, which extends twelve hundred miles in length, from 
north to south, and about six hundred miles in breadth ; where 
they entirely destroyed many nations, of whom there are now 
no accounts remaining among the English," &c. 

To what a number of important questions would not the 
above statement give rise ? But I will confine myself to a few, 
and enquire first, for what purpose the Five Nations were 
armed, and so "amply supplied with ammunition?" and sec 
ondly, what use did they make of those arms ? The Delawares 

1 [" The History of the Five Indian Nations depending on the Province of New 
York in America, by Cadwallader Golden? The first edition of this rare book was 
dedicated by the author to his Excellency, William Burnet, Esq., and was printed 
and sold by William Bradford in New York, 1727. Colden emigrated from Scot 
land in 1708, and first settled in Pennsylvania, engaging in the practice of medicine. 
Removing to New York in 1718, he was some time surveyor-general, subsequently a 
member of the King s Council, and in 1761 commissioned Lieutenant-Governor of the 
Province. This commission he held at the time of his death at his seat on Long 
Island, in September of 1776.] 


and Mohicans believed that the white people, first the Dutch 
and then the English, did all that was in their power to make 
the Mengwe a great people, so that they might rule over them 
and all other nations, and " that they had done what they 
wanted them to do," &c. For an answer to the second question, 
we have only to believe what Golden himself tells us, of what 
the same Mengwe or Iroquois did, after having received arms 
and ammunition from the English, which it clearly appears they 
could not have done before. Now, if we even were willing to 
admit that they had only gone off, " to revenge the affronts they 
had at any time received from the Indian Nations," yet, we 
would be willing to know, of what nature those affronts had 
been ; otherwise we might conclude, that they were no other 
than that those nations had refused "to become tributary to 
them ; would not submit to their mandates, nor have them for 
their masters ;" and therefore had beaten them off, when they 
came into their country for the purpose of bringing them under 
subjection, and perhaps also paid them a visit in return, after 
they had murdered some of their people. 

If we were permitted to omit the words, " revenge the affronts 
they had received from other nations," &c., we need not one 
moment be at a loss to know precisely what they went out for, 
as the historian himself tells us, that they, soon after receiving 
fire-arms and ammunition, "gave full swing to their warlike 
genius, and went off with a desire of conquering nations of 
making all those around them their tributaries, and compelling 
them all to acknowledge the Five Nations to be their masters, 
and to be absolutely directed by them, in all affairs of peace and 
war." We then know with certainty, what the object was for 
which they took the field. 

We are here also told, of the vast tract of country over which 
the Six Nations had carried their arms, subduing, and even " so 
destroying many nations, that no account of them was now 
remaining with the English!" 

In reply to this I might bring forward some sayings and 
assertions of the Delawares and Mohicans, which would not 
comport with the above story, nor apply to the great name the 
Six Nations have given themselves, which, as Golden tells us, is 


Ongwe-honwe, and signifies " men surpassing all others, superior 
to the rest of mankind :" but my object here is merely to dis 
cuss the fact, whether, previous to the white people s coming 
into the country, and while unsupplied with fire-arms, hatchets, 
&c., those Iroquois had done such wonders among nations as 
they report ; or, whether all this was done since that time, and 
in consequence of their being put into possession of those 
destructive weapons which they had not before ; for how are we 
to judge, and decide on the comparative bravery of two differ 
ent nations, without knowing whether or not the combatants 
were placed on an equal footing with regard to the weapons 
they used against each other ? 

I might ask the simple question, whether the Dutch, and after 
wards the English, have favoured their " brethren," the Dela- 
wares, Mohicans, and other tribes connected with them, who 
lived between them and the Six Nations, and on the land which 
they wanted to have, in the same manner that they have 
favoured their enemies ? 

Golden, in his Introduction to the History of the Five Nations, 
page 3, says : " I have been told by old men in New England, 
who remembered the time when the Mohawks made war on 
their Indians," (meaning here the Mohicans, or River Indians, as 
they often were called,) " that as soon as a single Mohawk was 
discovered in the country, their Indians raised a cry, from hill 
to hill, a Mohawk / a Mohawk ! upon which they all fled, like 
sheep before wolves, without attempting to make the least resist 
ance, whatever odds were on their side," and that, " the poor 
New England Indians immediately ran to the Christian houses, 
and the Mohawks often pursued them so closely, that they 
entered along with them, and knocked their brains out in the 
presence of the people of the house," &c. 

This is indeed a lamentable story! It might be asked, How 
could the white people, whom those very Mohicans had hospi 
tably welcomed, and permitted to live with them on their land, 
suffer an enemy to come into the country to destroy their bene 
factors, without making any opposition? Why did these Indians 
suffer this ? Why did they not with spirit meet this enemy ? 

The answer to this last question will be found in their tra- 


ditional history of the great meeting at Nordman s Kill, where 
they were expressly told, after they had consented to bury the 
hatchet, wherewith they warred against the Six Nations, " That 
whatsoever nation, (meaning the Mohicans and Delawares) 
should dig up the hatchet again, on them would the white 
people fall and take revenge 1" 

Thus, then, arms were put into the hands of the Six Nations, 
and with them the Dutch, and afterwards the English, sided ; 
but the Delawares and Mohicans were compelled to remain 
unarmed, for fear of being cut up by the white people, who had 
taken part with their enemies. May we not conclude, that these 
poor New England Indians were placed between two fires ? 

We do not, I believe, find that in the then middle colonies, 
the Mohawks, or any of the Five Nations, had ventured so far 
in their hostile conduct against the Delawares, as they had done 
to the Mohicans of New England, though the alliance between 
the Dutch and the Five Nations, and afterwards between the 
English and the latter, was much against both, and indeed more 
against the Delawares than the Mohicans : yet, by turning to 
treaties and councils, held with these nations between the years 
1740 and 1/60, in Pennsylvania, 1 we find much insolent language, 
which the Iroquois were, I will say, permitted, but which, the 
people concerned say, they were " bid or hired to make against 
the Delawares, for the purpose of stopping their mouths, pre 
venting them from stating their complaints and grievances, and 
asking redress from the colonial government." 

The result of such high toned language, as that which was 
made use of to the Delawares, by the Six Nations, at a council 
held at the proprietors, in July, 1742, and at other times after 
wards, 2 might easily have been foretold. For although now, 
these defenceless people had to submit to such gross insults, 
instead of seeing their grievances redressed, yet they were not 
ignorant of the manner in which they one day might take 

1 [The proceedings of these conferences and treaties with the Indians are spread 
upon the minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania, which were authorized 
to be printed by the Act of Legislature of April 4th, 1837, and published subse 
quently in seven volumes. They are known as " The Colonial Records."] 

2 At a Treaty, at Easton, in July and November, 1756. 



revenge, the door to the French, who were enemies to the Eng 
lish, being always open to them ; they had but to go " on one 
side " (as they expressed themselves) to be out of the way of the 
Iroquois, and they could obtain from the possessors of Canada, 
and Louisiana, all that they wanted, fire-arms, hatchets, scalping- 
knives, ammunition, &c. They did so, and withdrew to the 
Ohio country, whither they were followed by others from time 
to time, and by the time the French war broke out, they were in 
perfect readiness, and joining the enemies of Britain, they mur 
dered great numbers of the defenceless inhabitants of Pennsylva 
nia, laid the whole frontier waste, and spread terror and misery 
far and wide by the outrages they committed ; I have been my 
self a witness to those scenes, and to the distresses of hundreds 
of poor people, only in this one quarter. 

A work, entitled : "An Enquiry into the Causes of the Aliena 
tion of the Delaware and Shawanese Indians from the British 
Interest," written by Charles Thompson, 1 Esq., and printed in 
London, in 1759, which some time since fell into my hands, 
well merits to be read with attention, on account of the correct 
ness of the information that it contains. 

By this time, the Delawares were sensible of the imposition 
which had been practised upon them. They saw that a plan had 
been organised for their destruction, and that not only their inde 
pendence, but their very existence, was at stake ; they therefore 
took measures to defend themselves, by abandoning the system 
of neutrality into which they had been insidiously drawn. 

It was not without difficulty that I obtained from them these 
interesting details, for they felt ashamed of their own conduct ; 
they were afraid of being charged with cowardice, or at least 
with want of forethought, in having acted as they did, and not 
having discovered their error until it was too late. 

And yet, in my opinion, those fears were entirely groundless, 
and there appears nothing in their whole conduct disparaging to 
the courage and high sense of honour of that brave nation. Let 
us for a moment place ourselves in the situation of the Dela 
wares, Mohicans, and the other tribes connected with them, at 
the time when the Europeans first landed on New York Island. 

1 [Should be Thomson. } 


They were then in the height of their glory, pursuing their suc 
cesses against the Iroquois, with whom they had long been at 
war. They were in possession of the whole country, from the 
sea coast to the Mississippi, from the River St. Lawrence to the 
frontier of Carolina, while the habitations of their enemies did 
not extend far beyond the great Lakes. In this situation, they 
are on a sudden checked in their career, by a phenomenon they 
had till then never beheld ; immense canoes arriving at their 
shores, filled with people of a different colour, language, dress, 
and manners, from themselves! In their astonishment they call 
out to one another : " Behold ! the Gods are come to visit us ! " l 
They at first considered these astonishing beings, as messengers 
of peace, sent from the abode of the Great Spirit, and therefore, 
employed their time in preparing and making sacrifices to that 
Great Being who had so highly honoured them. Lost in 
amazement, fond of the enjoyment of this new spectacle, and 
anxious to know the result, they were unmindful of those mat 
ters which hitherto had taken up their minds, and had been the 
object of their pursuits ; they thought of nothing else but the 
wonders which now struck their eyes, and their sharpest wits 
were constantly employed in endeavouring to divine this great 
mystery ! Such is the manner in which they relate that event, 
the strong impression of which is not yet obliterated from their 

It was the Delawarcs who first received and welcomed these 
new guests on New York Island ; the Mohicans who inhabited 
the whole of the North River above, on its eastern side, were 
sent for to participate in the joy which was felt on being 
honoured by such visitants. Their tradition of this event is 
clear and explicit. None of the enemy, say they, (meaning the 
Five Nations 2 ) were present. 

It may possibly be asked, how the Dutch could favour the 
Five Nations so much, when none of them were present at the 
meetings which took place on their arrival in America ? how 
they came to abandon their first friends, and take part against 

^oskiel s History, Part I., ch. 10. 

2 The Iroquois were at that time a confederacy of only Five Nations ; they became 
Six afterwards when they were joined by the Tuscaroras. 


them with strangers? and how the Dutch became acquainted 
with those strangers? I shall simply, in answer, give the tradi 
tional accounts of the Mohicans in their own words : " The 
Dutch Traders (say they) penetrating into our country, high up 
the Mohicanichtuck (the Hudson River), fell in with some of 
the Mingo warriors, who told them that they were warring 
against the very people, (the Delawares and Mohicans) who had 
so kindly received them ; they easily foresaw, that they could 
not carry on their trade with their old friends, while this was the 
case ; neither would the Mingoes suffer them to trade with their 
enemies, unless they (the Dutch) assisted them in bringing 
about a peace between them. They also made these traders 
sensible, that they at that time, were at war with a people of 
the same colour with theirs (meaning the French), who had, by 
means of a very large river which lay to the North, come into 
the country ; that they (the Mengwe) were the greatest and 
most powerful of all the Indian nations; that if the people they 
belonged to, were friends to their enemies, and sided with them 
in their wars, they would turn their whole force against them ; 
but if, on the other hand, the Dutch would join them in effecting 
a peace with them, so that their hatchet should be buried 
forever, they would support and protect them in all their under 
takings; 1 that these traders being frightened, had returned 
home, and having stated the matter to their chief (the Dutch 
Governor), a vessel soon after went high up the river to an ap 
pointed place, where meeting with the Maqua (Five Nations), a 
conference was held, at which the Dutch promised them, that 
they would use their best endeavours to persuade their enemies 
to give up the hatchet to be buried, which, some time afterwards, 
actually took place." 

These are (as they say) the circumstances which led to the 
league which was afterwards established between the white 
people and the Five Nations, which was the cause of much dis 
satisfaction, injustice, and bloodshed, and which would not have 
taken place, if the rights and privileges of the different nations 

1 Meaning, that the Five Nations would assist the white people in getting the 
country of their enemies, the Delawares, &c., to themselves. 


and tribes had been respected, and each left to act for itself, 
especially in selling their lands to the Europeans. 

Having seen how the Five, afterwards Six Nations, rose to 
power, we have next to state by what means they lost the 
ascendancy which they had thus acquired. 

The withdrawing of the principal part of the Delawares, and 
the Shawanos, from the Atlantic coast, between the years 1740 
and 1760, afforded them an opportunity of consulting with the 
western tribes, on the manner of taking revenge on the Iroquois 
for the many provocations, wrongs and insults they had received 
from them ; when ten nations immediately entered into an alli 
ance for that purpose, the French having promised to assist 
them. 1 In the year 1756, they agreed to move on in detached 
bodies, as though they meant to attack the English, with whom 
they and the French were then at war, and then turn suddenly 
on the Six Nations and make a bold stroke. Though, for 
various reasons, their designs could not at that time be carried 
into effect, yet the) did not lose sight of the object, waiting only 
for a proper opportunity. 

It would, however, have been next to impossible, under 
existing circumstances, and while the Six Nations were sup 
ported by such a powerful ally as the English, for the Dela 
wares and their allies, to subdue, or even effectually to chastise 
them. These Nations, however, at the commencement of a 
war between the English nation and the Colonies, were become 
so far independent, that such of them as lived remote from the 
British stations or garrisons, or were not immediately under 
their eye, were at full liberty to side with whom they pleased ; 
and though the Six Nations attempted to dictate to the Western 
Delawares, what side they should take, their spirited chief, 
Captain White Eyes, did not hesitate to reply, in the name of 
his nation : " that he should do as he pleased; that he wore no 
petticoats, as they falsely pretended ; he was no woman, but a 
man, and they should find him to act as such." That this brave 
chief was in earnest, was soon after verified, by a party of Dela 
wares joining the American army. 

In 1781, when almost all the Indian nations were in the British 

1 Loskiel, Part I., ch. 10. 


interest, except a part of the Delawares, among whom were the 
Christian Indians between 2 and 300 souls in number, 1 the British 
Indian agent at Detroit applied to the great council of the Six 
Nations at Niagara, to remove those Christian Indians out of 
the country : the Iroquois upon this sent a war message to the 
Chippeways and Ottawas, 2 to this effect : " We herewith make 
you a present of the Christian Indians, to make soup of; 3 
which in the war language of the Indians, is saying: "We 
deliver these people to you to be murdered ! " These brave 
Indians sent the message immediately back again with the 
reply : " We have no cause for doing this ! " 

The same message being next sent to the Wyandots, they 
likewise disobeyed their orders, and did not make the least 
attempt to murder those innocent people. The Iroquois, there 
fore, were completely at a loss how to think and act, seeing that 
their orders were every where disregarded. 

At the conclusion of the revolutionary war, they had the 
mortification to see, that the trade which they had hitherto car 
ried on, and to them was so agreeable and profitable, that of 
selling to the English the land of other nations, to which they 
had no possible claim, was at once and forever put an end to by 
the liberal line of conduct which the American Government 
adopted with the Indian Nations, leaving each at liberty to sell 
its own lands, reserving, only to themselves the right of pur 
chase, to the exclusion of foreigners of every description. 

In addition to this, the bond of connexion which subsisted 
between these Six Nations, if it was not entirely broken, yet 
was much obstructed, by a separation which took place at the 
close of that war, when a part, and the most active body of 
them, retired into Canada. No nation then any more regarded 
their commands, nor even their advice, when it did not accord 
with their will and inclination ; all which became evident during 

1 [The Indian converts attached to the Moravian Mission, whom Mr. Heckewelder 
invariably designates " Christian Indians " throughout his history. The Moravian 
Indians at this date were settled with their missionaries in three towns on the Tus- 
carawas branch of the Muskingum (now the Tuscarawas River), all within the 
limits of the present Tuscarawas County, Ohio.] 

2 Loskiel, Part III., ch. 9. 

3 The proper name is Wtdwas, the W is whistled. 


the whole time the Western Nations were at war with the United 
States, and until the peace made with them in I/95- 1 

At last, being sensible of their humbled situation, and prob 
ably dreading the consequence of their former insolent conduct 
to the other Indian Nations, and principally the Delawares, 
whom they had so long and so much insulted, were they not to 
make some amends for all this contumely ? They came forward, 
at the critical moment, just previous to the Treaty concluded by 
General Wayne, and formally declared the Delaware nation to 
be no longer Women, but MEN. 

I hope to be believed in the solemn assertion which I now 
make : That in all that I have written on the subject of the his 
tory and politics of the Indian Nations, I have neither been 
influenced by partiality for the one, or undue prejudice against 
the other, but having had the best opportunities of obtaining 
from authentic sources, such information in matters of fact, as 
has enabled me to make up my mind on the subject, I have 
taken the liberty of expressing my opinion as I have honestly 
formed it, leaving the reader, however, at liberty to judge and 
decide for himself as he may deem most proper. 

I wish once more to observe, that in this history it is princi 
pally meant to shew, rather what the Indians of this country 
were previous to the white people s arrival, than what they now 
are ; for now, the two great nations, the Iroquois and the Dela 
wares, are no longer the same people that they formerly were. 
The former, who, as their rivals would assert, were more like 
beasts than human beings, and made intrigue their only study, 
have, by their intercourse with the whites, become an industri 
ous and somewhat civilised people ; at least many of them are 
so, which is probably owing to their having been permitted to 
live so long, (indeed, for more than a century) in the same dis- 

1 [In the summer of 1794, Gen. Wayne moved an army into the Ohio country, 
and on the 2Oth of August defeated the confederated Indians near the rapids of the 
Maumee, or Miami of the Lake. The result of this campaign was a treaty of peace, 
which was ratified at Greenville, the present county seat of Darke County, Ohio, in 
August of 1795, between the United States Government, represented by Wayne, and 
the Shawanese, Delawares, Wyandots, Ottawas, Potawattomies, Miamis and smaller 
tribes, at which treaty about two-thirds of the present state of Ohio was ceded to 
the United States.] 


trict of country, and while the British possessed it, under the 
protection of the superintendent of Indian affairs ; while the 
latter have always been oppressed and persecuted, disturbed and 
driven from place to place, scarcely enjoying themselves at any 
place for a dozen years at a time ; having constantly the lowest 
class of whites for their neighbours, and having no opportunity 
of displaying their true character and the talents that nature 
had bestowed upon them. 

My long residence among those nations in the constant habit 
of unrestrained familiarity, has enabled me to know them well, 
and made me intimately acquainted with the manners, customs, 
character and disposition of those men of nature, when uncor- 
rupted by European vices. Of these, I think I could draw a 
highly interesting picture, if I only possessed adequate powers 
of description : -but the talent of writing is not to be acquired in 
the wilderness, among savages. I have felt it, however, to be a 
duty incumbent upon me to make the attempt, and I have done 
it in the following pages, with a rude but faithful pencil. I have 
spent a great part of my life among those people, and have been 
treated by them with uniform kindness and hospitality. I have 
witnessed their virtues and experienced their goodness. I owe 
them a debt of gratitude, which I cannot acquit better than by 
presenting to the world this plain unadorned picture, which I 
have drawn in the spirit of candour and truth. Alas ! in a few 
years, perhaps, they will have entirely disappeared from the face 
of the earth, and all that will be remembered of them will be 
that they existed and were numbered among the barbarous 
tribes that once inhabited this vast continent. At least, let it 
not be said, that among the whole race of white Christian men, 
not one single individual could be found, who, rising above the 
cloud of prejudice with which the pride of civilisation has sur 
rounded the original inhabitants of this land, would undertake 
the task of doing justice to their many excellent qualities, and 
raise a small frail monument to their memory. 

I shall conclude with a few necessary remarks for the infor 
mation of the reader. 

Lenni Lcnape being the national and proper name of the 
people we call " Delawares," I have retained this name, or for 


brevity s sake, called them simply Lenape, as they do themselves 
in most instances. Their name signifies " original people" a race 
of human beings who are the same that they were in the begin 
ning, unchanged and unmixed} 

These people (the Lenni Lenape) are known and called by 
all the western, northern, and some of the southern nations, by 
the name of Wapanachki, which the Europeans have corrupted 
into Apenaki, Openagi, Abenaquis? and Abenakis? All these 
names, however differently written, and improperly understood 
by authors, point to one and the same people, the Lenape, who 
are by this compound word, called " people at the rising of the 
Sun," or as we would say, Ea stlanders ; and are acknowledged 
by near forty Indian tribes, whom we call nations, as being 
their grandfathers. All these nations, derived from the same 
stock, recognise each other as Wapanachki, which among them 
is a generic name. 

The name " Delawares" which we give to these people, is 
unknown in their language, and I well remember the time when 
they thought the whites had given it to them in derision ; but 
they were reconciled to it, on being told that it was the name of 
a great white chief, Lord de la War, which had been given to 
them and their river. As they are fond of being named after 
distinguished men, they were rather pleased, considering it as a 

The Mahicanni have been called by so many different names, 4 
that I was at a loss which to adopt, so that the reader might 
know what people were meant. Loskiel calls them " Mohicans," 
which is nearest to their real name Mahicanni, which, of course, 
I have adopted. 

The name " Nanticokes " I have left as generally used, though 

1 [The missionary David Zeisberger, in a collection of Delaware vocables incor 
porated in " An Essay of a Delaware and English Spelling Book for the use of the 
Schools of the Christian Indians on the Muskingum River" printed at Philadelphia, 
by Henry Miller, in 1776, defines Lennilenape, " Indians of the same nation."] 

2 Golden. 

3 La Hontan. 

4 The Dutch called them Mahikanders ; the French Mourigans, and Mahingans; 
the English, Mohiccons, Mohuccans, Mohegans, Muhheekanew, Schatikooks, River 


properly it should be Ne ntico, or after the English pronunciation 

The "Canai" I call by their proper name. I allude here to 
those people we call Canals, Conois, Conoys, Canaways, Kanha- 
was, Canawese. 

With regard to the Five, or Six Nations, I have called them by 
different names, such as are most common, and well understood. 
The Lenape (Delawares) are never heard to say " Six Nations" and 
it is a rare thing to hear these people named by them otherwise 
than Mcngive ; the Mahicanni call them Maqua, and even most 
white people call them Mingoes. When therefore I have said 
the Five or Six Nations, I have only used our own mode of 
speaking, not that of the Indians, who never look upon them as 
having been so many nations ; but divisions, and tribes, who, as 
united, have become a nation. Thus, when the Lenape (Dela 
wares) happen to name them as one body, the word they make 
use of implies " the five divisions together, or united," as will be 
seen in another place of this work. I call them also Iroquois, 
after the French and some English writers. 

The Wyandots, or Wyondots, are the same whom the French 
call Hurons, and sometimes Guyandots. Father Sagard, a French 
Missionary, who lived among them in the i/th century, and has 
written an account of his mission, and a kind of dictionary 
of their language, says their proper name is Ahouandate, from 
whence it is evident that the English appellation Wyandots has 
been derived. 

There being so many words in the language of the Lenape 
and their kindred tribes, the sound of which cannot well be 
represented according to the English pronunciation, I have in 
general adopted for them the German mode of spelling. The ch, 
particularly before a consonant, is a strong guttural, and unless 
an Englishman has the use of the Greek x, he will not be able to 
pronounce it, as in the words Chasquem (Indian corn), CJieltol 
(many), dies (a skin), Chanchschisis (an old woman), and a great 
many more. Sometimes, indeed, in the middle of a word sub 
stitutes may be found which may do, as in the word Nimachtak 
(brethren), which might be written Nemanghtok, but this will 
seldom answer. This is probably the reason that most of the 


English authors have written Indian words so incorrectly, far 
more so than French authors. 

The Delawares have neither of the letters R, F, nor V, in 
their language, though they easily learn to pronounce them. 
They have a consonant peculiar to them and other Indians, 
which is a sibilant, and which we represent by W. It is pro 
duced by a soft whistling, and is not unpleasant to the ear, 
although it comes before a consonant. It is not much unlike 
the English sound wh in what, but not so round or full, and 
rather more whistled. W before a vowel is pronounced as in 







(NOTE. In annotating this work, the editor consulted, among other authorities, 
The Life of John Heckewelder, by the Rev. Edward Rondthaler, Heckewelder s Nar 
rative of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Delaware and Mohegan 
Indians, History of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians in North 
America, The Life and Times of David Zeisberger, Memorials of the Moravian 
Church, The Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, The Moravians in 
New York and Connectictit, and ButterfielcP s Crawford s Campaign against San- 

He omitted to state, in the course of the introductory biographical sketch of the 
missionary, that his Account of the History, Manners, and Customs of Indian Nations 
has been translated into both French and German. The French translation was 
published at Paris, in 1822; it is entitled, " Histoire, Mceurs et Continues des 
Nations Indiennes qui habitaient autrefois la Pennsylvanie et les Etats voisins ; par 
le Reverend Jean Heckewelder, Missionnaire Morave, traduit de r Anglais, par le 
Chevalier Du Ponceau? The German translation, published at Gottingen in 1821, 
is entitled, " Johann Heckewelder s evangelischen Predigers zu Bethlehem, Nach- 
richt von der Geschichtc, den Sitten ttnd Gebrfaichen der Indianischen Volkerschaften, 
welche ehemals Pennsylvanien und die benachbarten Staaten bewohnten. Ans dem 
Englischen ilbersetzt und mit den Angaben anderer Schriftsteller uber eben dieselben 
Gegenstdnde (Carver, Loskiel, Ling, Volney], vermchrt von Fr. Hesse, evangelischen 
Prcdiger zu Nienburg. Nebst einem die Glaubwiirdigkeit tmd den anthropologischen 
Werth der Nachrichten Heckewelder s betreffenden Zusatze von G. E. Schuhe."} 







|HE Lenni Lenape (according to the traditions handed 
down to them by their ancestors) resided many hun 
dred years ago, in a very distant country in the 
western part of the American continent. For some 
reason, which I do not find accounted for, they determined on 
migrating to the eastward, and accordingly set out together in a 
body. After a very long journey, and many nights encamp 
ments 1 by the way, they at length arrived on the Names si Sipit? 
where they fell in with the Mengwe, 3 who had likewise emi 
grated from a distant country, and had struck upon this river 
somewhat higher up. Their object was the same with that of 
the Delawares ; they were proceeding on to the eastward, until 
they should find a country that pleased them. The spies which 
the Lenape had sent forward for the purpose of reconnoitring, 

1 " Night s encampment" is a halt of one year at a place. 

2 The Mississippi, or River of Fish ; Namces, a Fish; Sifiu, a River. 

3 The Iroquois, or Five Nations. 



had long before their arrival discovered that the country east of 
the Mississippi was inhabited by a very powerful nation, who 
had many large towns built on the great rivers flowing through 
their land. Those people (as I was told) called themselves 
Talligeu or Talligewi. Colonel John Gibson, 1 however, a gentle 
man who has a thorough knowledge of the Indians, and speaks 
several of their languages, is of opinion that they were not 
called Talligewi, but Alligewi, and it would seem that he is 
right, from the traces of their name which still remain in the 
country, the Allegheny river and mountains having indubitably 
been named after them. The Delawares still call the former 
Alligeivi Sipu, the River of the Alligewi. We have adopted, I 
know not for what reason, its Iroquois name, Ohio, which the 
French had literally translated into La Belle Riviere, The Beau 
tiful River. 2 A branch of it, however, still retains the ancient 
name Allegheny. 

Many wonderful things are told of this famous people. They 
are said to have been remarkably tall and stout, and there is a 
tradition that there were giants among them, people of a much 
larger size than the tallest of the Lenape. It is related that they 
had built to themselves regular fortifications or entrenchments, 
from whence they would sally out, but were generally repulsed. 
I have seen many of the fortifications said to have been built by 

1 [Col. John Gibson, to whom Mr. Heckewelder frequently alludes, was born at 
Lancaster, Pa., in 1740. At the age of eighteen, he made his first campaign under 
Gen. Forbes, in the expedition which resulted in the acquisition of Fort Du Quesne 
from the French. At the peace of 1763 he settled at that post (Fort Pitt) as a trader. 
Some time after this, on the resumption of hostilities with the savages, he was cap 
tured by some Indians, among whom he lived several years, and thus became 
familiar with their language, manners, customs, and traditions. In the expedition 
against the Shawanese under Lord Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, in 
1774) Gibson played a conspicuous part. On the breaking out of the Revolutionary 
war, he was appointed to the command of one of the Continental regiments raised 
in Virginia, and served with the army at New York and in the retreat through New 
Jersey. He was next employed in the Western department, serving under Gen. 
Mclntosh in 1778, and under Gen. Irvine in 1782. At one time he was in command 
at Pittsburgh. In 1800 Col. Gibson was appointed Secretary and acting Governor of 
the territory of Indiana, a position which he filled for a second time between 1811 
and 1813. Subsequently he was Associate Judge of Allegheny County, Pa. He died 
near Pittsburgh in 1822. He was an uncle of the late John B. Gibson, Chief Justice 
of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania between 1827 and 1851.] 

2 Loskiel s History of the Mission of the United Brethren, Part L, ch. i. 


them, two of which, in particular, were remarkable. One of 
them was near the mouth of the river Huron, which empties 
itself into the Lake St. Clair, on the north side of that lake, at 
the distance of about 20 miles N. E. of Detroit. This spot of 
ground was, in the year 1786, owned and occupied by a Mr. 
Tucker. The other works, properly entrenchments, being walls 
or banks of earth regularly thrown up, with a deep ditch on the 
outside, were on the Huron river, east of the Sandusky, about 
six or eight miles from Lake Erie. Outside of the gateways of 
each of these two entrenchments, which lay within a mile of 
each other, were a number of large flat mounds, in which, the 
Indian pilot said, were buried hundreds of the slain Talligewi, 
whom I shall hereafter with Colonel Gibson call Alligeiui. Of 
these entrenchments, Mr. Abraham Steiner, who was with me 
at the time when I saw them, gave a very accurate description, 
which was published at Philadelphia, in 1789 or 1790, in some 
periodical work the name of which I cannot at present remember. 1 
When the Lenape arrived on the banks of the Mississippi, 
they sent a message to the Alligewi to request permission to 
settle themselves in their neighbourhood. This was refused 
them, but they obtained leave to pass through the country and 
seek a settlement farther to the eastward. They accordingly 
began to cross the Namsesi Sipu, when the Alligewi, seeing that 
their numbers were so very great, and in fact they consisted of 
many thousands, made a furious attack on those who had 
crossed, threatening them all with destruction, if they dared to 
persist in coming over to their side of the river. Fired at the 
treachery of these people, and the great loss of men they had 
sustained, and besides, not being prepared for a conflict, the 
Lenape consulted on what was to be done ; whether to retreat 
in the best manner they could, or try their strength, and let the 
enemy see that they were not cowards, but men, and too high- 
minded to suffer themselves to be driven off before they had 

1 [In 1789 Mr. Heckewelder, accompanied by Abraham Steiner, (subsequently a 
missionary to the Cherokees of Georgia,) visited the mission at New Salem, on the 
Petquotting, (now the Huron,) in Erie County, Ohio, on business relating to the 
survey of a tract of land on the Tuscarawas, which Congress had conveyed to the 
Moravians in trust for their Indians. This was to indemnify them for losses incurred 
at their settlements during the border-war of the Revolution.] 


made a trial of their strength, and were convinced that the 
enemy was too powerful for them. The Mengwe, who had 
hitherto been satisfied with being spectators from a distance, 
offered to join them, on condition that, after conquering the 
country, they should be entitled to share it with them ; their 
proposal was accepted, and the resolution was taken by the two 
nations, to conquer or die. 

Having thus united their forces, the Lenape and Mengwe 
declared war against the Alligewi, and great battles were fought, 
in which many warriors fell on both sides. The enemy fortified 
their large towns and erected fortifications, especially on large 
rivers, and near lakes, where they were successively attacked 
and sometimes stormed by the allies. An engagement took 
place in which hundreds fell, who were afterwards buried in 
holes or laid together in heaps and covered over with earth. 
No quarter was given, so that the Alligewi, at last, finding that 
their destruction was inevitable if they persisted in their obsti 
nacy, abandoned the country to the conquerors, and fled down 
the Mississippi river, from whence they never returned. The 
war which was carried on with this nation, lasted many years, 
during which the Lenape lost a great number of their warriors, 
while the Mengwe would always hang back in the rear, leaving 
them to face the enemy. In the end, the conquerors divided the 
country between themselves ; the Mengwe made choice of the 
lands in the vicinity of the great lakes, and on their tributary 
streams, and the Lenape took possession of the country to the 
south. For a long period of time, some say many hundred 
years, the two nations resided peaceably in this country, and 
increased very fast; some of their most enterprising huntsmen 
and warriors crossed the great swamps, 1 and falling on streams 
running to the eastward, followed them down to the great Bay 
River, 2 thence into the Bay itself, which we call Chesapeak. As 
they pursued their travels, partly by land and partly by water, 
sometimes near and at other times on the great Saltwater Lake, 
as they call the Sea, they discovered the great River, which we 
call the Delaware; and thence exploring still eastward, the 

1 The Glades, that is to say that they crossed the mountains. 

2 Meaning the river Susquehannah, which they call " the great Bay River." from 
where the west branch falls into the main stream. 


Scheyichbi country, now named New Jersey, they arrived at 
another great stream, that which we call the Hudson or North 
River. Satisfied with what they had seen, they, (or some of 
them) after a long absence, returned to their nation and reported 
the discoveries they had made ; they described the country they 
had discovered, as abounding in game and various kinds of 
fruits ; and the rivers and bays, with fish, tortoises, &c., together 
with abundance of water-fowl, and no enemy to be dreaded. 
They considered the event as a fortunate one for them, and con 
cluding this to be the country destined for them by the Great 
Spirit, they began to emigrate thither, as yet but in small bodies, 
so as not to be straitened for want of provisions by the way, 
some even laying by for a whole year ; at last they settled on 
the four great rivers (which we call Delaware, Hudson, Susque- 
hannah, and Potomack) making the Delaware, to which they 
gave the name of "Lenapezvihittuck" l (the river or stream of the 
Lenape) the centre of their possessions. 

They say, however, that the whole of their nation did not 
reach this country ; that many remained behind in order to aid 
and assist that great body of their people, which had not crossed 
the Namaesi Sipu, but had retreated into the interior of the 
country on the other side, on being informed of the reception 
which those who had crossed had met with, and probably think 
ing that they had all been killed by the enemy. 

Their nation finally became divided into three separate 
bodies ; the larger body, which they suppose to have been one 
half of the whole, was settled on the Atlantic, and the other 
half was again divided into two parts, one of which, the strongest 
as they suppose, remained beyond the Mississippi, and the 
remainder where they left them, on this side of that river. 

Those of the Delawares who fixed their abode on the shores 
of the Atlantic divided themselves into three tribes. Two of 
them, distinguished by the names of the Turtle and the Turkey, 
the former calling themselves Unamis and the other Unalachtgo, 
chose those grounds to settle on, which lay nearest to the sea, 
between the coast and the high mountains. As they multiplied, 

1 The word " Hittuck," in the language of the Delawares, means a rapid stream; 
(t Sipo," or " Sipu," is the proper name for a river. 


their settlements extended from the Mohicannittuck (river of the 
Mohicans, which we call the North or Hudson river) to beyond 
the Potomack. Many families with their connexions choosing 
to live by themselves, were scattered not only on the larger, but 
also on the small streams throughout the country, having towns 
and villages, where they lived together in separate bodies, in 
each of which a chief resided ; those chiefs, however, were sub 
ordinate (by their own free will, the only kind of subordination 
which the Indians know) to the head chiefs or great council of 
the nation, whom they officially informed of all events or occur 
rences affecting the general interest which came to their know 
ledge. The third tribe, the Wolf, commonly called the Minsi, 
which we have corrupted into Monseys, had chosen to live back 
of the two other tribes, and formed a kind of bulwark for their 
protection, watching the motions of the Mengwe, and being at 
hand to afford their aid in case of a rupture with them. The 
Minsi were considered the most warlike and active branch of the 
Lenape. They extended their settlements, from the Minisink, a 
place named after them, where they had their council seat and 
fire, quite up to the Hudson on the east ; and to the west or 
south west far beyond the Susquehannah : their northern 
boundaries were supposed originally to be the heads of the 
great rivers Susquehannah and Delaware, and their southern 
boundaries that ridge of hills known in New Jersey by the 
name of Muskanecun, and in Pennsylvania, by those of Lehigh, 
Coghnewago, &c. Within this boundary were their principal 
settlements ; and even as late as the year 1/42, they had a town, 
with a large peach orchard, on the tract of land where Nazareth, 
in Pennsylvania, has since been built; 1 another on Lehigh (the 
west branch of the Delaware), and others beyond the blue 
ridge, besides small family settlements here and there scattered. 

1 [The Indians of this town proved troublesome neighbors to a small company of 
Moravians, who, in the spring of 1740, were employed by Whitefield to erect a large 
dwelling near its site, which he designed for a school for negroes. The town lay 
near the centre of a tract of 5,000 acres (now Upper Nazareth township, Northamp 
ton County, Pennsylvania), which Whitefield bought of William Allen, which he 
named Nazareth, and which, in 1741, he conveyed to the Moravians. Captain John 
and his clan of Delawares vacated their plantation in the autumn of 1742, and in the 
following year, the Moravians commenced their first settlement, and named it 
Nazareth. Whitefield s house is still standing.] 


From the above three tribes, the Unamis, Unalachtgo, and the 
Minsi, comprising together the body of those people we call 
Delaware*, had in the course of time, sprung many others, who, 
having for their own conveniency, chosen distant spots to settle 
on, and increasing in numbers, gave themselves names or re 
ceived them from others. Those names, generally given after 
some simple natural objects, or after something striking or 
extraordinary, they continued to bear even after they ceased to 
be applicable, when they removed to other places, where the 
object after which they were named was not to be found ; thus 
they formed separate and distinct tribes, yet did not deny their 
origin, but retained their affection for the parent tribe, of , which 
they were even proud to be called the grandchildren. 

This was the case with the Mahicanni or Mohicans, in the 
east, a people who by intermarriages had become a detached 
body, mixing two languages together, and forming out of the 
two a dialect of their own : choosing to live by themselves, they 
had crossed the Hudson River, naming it Mahicannituck River 
after their assumed name, and spread themselves over all that 
country which now composes the eastern states. New tribes 
again sprung from them who assumed distinct names; still how 
ever not breaking off from the parent stock, but acknowledging 
the Lenni Lenape to be their grandfather : the Delawares, at last, 
thought proper to enlarge their council house for their Mahi 
canni grandchildren, that they might come to their fire, that is to 
say, be benefited by their advice, and also in order to keep 
alive their family connexions and remain in league with each 

Much the same thing happened with a body of the Lenape, 
called Nanticokes, who had, together with their offspring, pro 
ceeded far to the south, in Maryland and Virginia ; the council 
house was by their grandfather (the Delawares), extended to the 
Potomack, in the same manner and for the same motives as had 
been done with the Mahicanni. 

Meanwhile the Mengwe, who had first settled on the great 
Lakes between them, had always kept a number of canoes in 
readiness to save themselves, in case the Alligewi should return, 
and their number also increasing, they had in time proceeded 


farther, and settled below the Lakes along the River St. Law 
rence, so that they were now become, on the north side, neigh 
bours of the Lenape tribes. 

These Mengwe now began to look upon their southern neigh 
bours with a jealous eye, became afraid of their growing power, 
and of being dispossessed by them of the lands they occupied. 
To meet this evil in time, they first sought to raise quarrels and 
disturbances, which in the end might lead to wars between 
distant tribes and the Lenape, for which purpose, they clandes 
tinely murdered people on one or the other side, seeking to 
induce the injured party to believe, that some particular nation 
or tribe had been the aggressor; and having actually succeeded 
to their wishes, they now stole into the country of the Lenape 
and their associates, frequently surprising them at their hunting 
camps, occasionally committing murders, and making off with 
the plunder. Foreseeing, however, that they could not go on in 
this way without being detected, they had recourse to other 
artful means, by which they actually succeeded in setting tribe 
against tribe, and nation against nation. As each nation or 
tribe has a particular mark on their war clubs, different from 
that of the others ; and as on seeing one of these near the dead 
body of a murdered person, it is immediately known what 
nation or tribe has been the aggressor; so the Mengwe 
having left a war club, such as the Lenape made use of, in the 
Cherokee country, where they had purposely committed a mur 
der, of course the Cherokees naturally concluding that it had 
been committed by the Lenape, fell suddenly upon them, which 
produced a most bloody war between the two nations. The 
treachery of the Mengwe, however, having been at length dis 
covered, the Lenape determined on taking an exemplary re 
venge, and, indeed, nothing short of a total extirpation l of that 
deceitful race was resolved on; they were, besides, known to 
eat human flesh, 2 to kill men for the purpose of devouring them ; 

1 Loskiel, part L, ch. 10. 

2 The Reverend C. Pyrloeus, a pupil of Conrad Weiser, of whom he learned the 
Mohawk language, and who was afterwards stationed on the Mohawk River, as a 
Missionary, has, in a manuscript book, written between the years 1742 and 1748, 
page 235, the following note which he received from a principal chief of that nation, 


and therefore were not considered by the Lenape as a pure race, 
or as rational beings ; v but as a mixture of the human and brutal 

War being now openly declared against the Mengwe, it was 
carried on with vigour ; until, at last, finding that they were no 
match for so powerful an enemy as the Lenape, who had such a 
train of connexions, ready to join them if necessity required, 
they fell upon the plan of entering into a confederacy with each 
other, by which they would be bound to make a common cause, 
and meet the common enemy with their united force, and not, as 
the present prospect was, be destroyed by tribes, which threat 
ened in the end the destruction of the whole. Until this time, 
each tribe of the Mengwe had acted independent of the others, 
and they were not inclined to come under any supreme authority, 
which might counteract their base designs ; for now, a single 
tribe, or even individuals of a tribe, by the commission of 
wanton hostilities, would draw the more peaceable among them 
into wars and bloodshed, as particularly had been the case with 
the Senecas, who were the most restless of the whole ; and 
though the Lenape had directed their force principally against 
the aggressors, yet the body of the nation became thereby 
weaker; so that they saw the necessity of coming under 
some better regulations and government. 1 

This confederation took place some time between the 1 5th 

viz.: " The Five Nations formerly did eat human flesh.; they at one time ate up a 
whole body of the French King s soldiers; they say, Eto niocht ochquari ; which is: 
Human flesh tastes like bear s meat. They also say, that the hands are not good 
eating, they are yozgarat, bitter." 

Aged French Canadians have told me, many years since, while I was at Detroit, 
that they had frequently seen the Iroquois eat the flesh of those who had been slain 
in battle, and that this was the case in the war between the French and English, 
commonly called the war of 1756. 

At a treaty held at the Proprietor s house in Philadelphia, July 5th, 1742, with the 
Six Nations, none of the Senecas attended ; the reason of their absence being asked, 
it was given for answer, " that there was a famine in their country, and that a father 
had been obliged to kill two of his children, to preserve the lives of the remainder of 
the family." See Colden s History of the Five Nations, part II., page 52. See also 
the minutes of that treaty, printed at Philadelphia, by B. Franklin, in 1743, p. 7, in 
the Collection of Indian Treaties in the library of the American Philosophical Society. 

1 Loskiel, part I., ch. I. 



and i6th century j 1 the most bloody wars were afterwards carried 
on for a great length of time, between the "confederated Iroquois, 
and the Delawares and their connexions, in which the Lenape 
say that they generally came off victorious. While these wars 
were carrying on with vigour, the French landed in Canada, and 
it was not long before they and the now combined Five Nations, 
or tribes, were at war with each other, the latter not being 
willing to permit that the French should establish themselves 
in that country. At last the Iroquois, finding themselves be 
tween two fires, and without any prospect of conquering the 
Lenape by arms, and seeing the necessity of withdrawing with 
their families, from the shores of the St. Lawrence, to the in 
terior of the country, where the French could not easily reach 
them, fell upon a stratagem, which they flattered themselves 
would, if successful, secure to them not only a peace with the 
Lenape, but also with all the other tribes connected with them ; 
so that they would then have but one enemy (the French) to 
contend with. 

This plan was very deeply laid, and was calculated to deprive 
the Lenape and their allies, not only of their power but of their 
military fame, which had exalted them above all the other 
Indian nations. They were to be persuaded to abstain from the 
use of arms, and assume the station of mediators and umpires 
among their warlike neighbours. In the language of the In 
dians, they were to be made women? It must be understood 
that among these nations wars are never brought to an end 
but by the interference of the weaker sex. The men, however 
tired of fighting, are afraid of being considered as cowards if 

1 The Rev. C. Pyrlaeus, in his manuscript book, page 234, says : " The alliance or 
confederacy of the Five Nations was established, as near as can be conjectured, one 
age (or the length of a man s life) before the white people (the Dutch) came into the 
country. Thannawage was the name of the aged Indian, a Mohawk, who first pro 
posed such an alliance." He then gives the names of the chiefs of the Five Nations, 
which at that time met and formed the alliance, viz.: " Toganawita, of the Mo 
hawks ; Otatscklehta, of the Oneidas ; Tatotarho, of the Onondagos ; Toga hay on, of 
the Cayugas; Ganiatarid and Satagaruyes, from two towns of the Senecas, &c.," and 
concludes with saying: " All these names are forever to be kept in remembrance, by 
naming a person in each nation after them," &c., &c. 

* Loskiel, part I., ch. 10. 


they should intimate a desire for peace. It is not becoming, 
say they, for a warrior, with the bloody weapon in his hand, to 
hold pacific language to his enemy. He must shew to the end 
a determined courage, and appear as ready and willing to fight 
as at the beginning of the contest. Neither, say they, is it 
proper, to threaten and to sue in the same breath, to hold the 
peace belt in one hand, and the tomahawk in the other ; men s 
words, as well as their actions, should be of a piece, all good 
or all bad ; for it is a fixed maxim of theirs, which they apply 
on all occasions, that good can never dwell with evil. They 
also think that a treaty produced by threats or by force, cannot 
be binding. With these dispositions, war would never have 
ceased among Indians, until the extermination of one or the 
other party, if the tender and compassionate sex had not come 
forward, and by their moving speeches persuaded the enraged 
combatants to bury their hatchets, and make peace with each 
other. On these occasions they were very eloquent, they 
would lament with great feeling the losses suffered on both 
sides, when there was not a warrior, perhaps, who had not lost 
a son, a brother, or a friend. They would describe the sorrows 
of widowed wives, and, above all, of bereaved mothers. The 
pains of child-birth, the anxieties attending the progress of their 
sons from infancy to manhood, they had willingly and even 
cheerfully suffered; but after all these trials, how cruel was it 
for them to see those promising youths whom they had reared 
with so much care, fall victims to the rage of war, and a prey to 
a relentless enemy ; to see them slaughtered on the field of 
battle, or put to death, as prisoners, by a protracted torture, in 
the midst of the most exquisite torments. The thought of such 
scenes made them curse their own existence, and shudder at the 
idea of bearing children. Then they would conjure the warriors 
by every thing that was dear to them, to take pity on the suffer 
ings of their wives and helpless infants, to turn their faces once 
more towards their homes, families, and friends, to forgive the 
wrongs suffered from each other, to lay aside their deadly 
weapons, and smoke together the pipe of amity and peace. 
They had given on both sides sufficient proofs of their courage; 
the contending nations were alike high-minded and brave, and 


they must now embrace as friends those whom they had learned 
to respect as enemies. Speeches like these seldom failed of 
their intended effect, and the women by this honorable function 
of peace-makers, were placed in a situation by no means undig 
nified. It would not be a disgrace, therefore ; on the contrary, 
it would be an honour to a powerful nation, who could not be 
suspected of wanting either strength or courage, to assume that 
station by which they would be the means, and the only means, 
of preserving the general peace and saving the Indian race from 
utter extirpation. 

Such were the arguments which the artful Mengwe urged to 
the Lenape to make them fall into the snare which they had pre 
pared for them. They had reflected, they said, deeply reflected 
on their critical situation ; there remained no resource for them, 
but that some magnanimous nation should assume the part and 
situation of the woman. It could not be given to a weak or con 
temptible tribe, such would not be listened to ; but the Lenape 
and their allies would at once possess influence and command 
respect. As men they had been dreaded ; as women they 
would be respected and honored, none would be so daring or so 
base as to attack or insult them ; as women they would have 
a right to interfere in all the quarrels of other nations, and to 
stop or prevent the effusion of Indian blood. They entreated 
them, therefore, to become the woman in name and, in fact, to 
lay down their arms and all the insignia of warriors, to devote 
themselves to agriculture and other pacific employments, and 
thus become the means of preserving peace and harmony among 
the nations. 

The Lenape, unfortunately for themselves, listened to the 
voice of their enemies. They knew it was too true, that the 
Indian nations, excited by their own unbridled passions, and not 
a little by their European neighbours, were in the way of total 
extirpation by each other s hands. They believed that the 
Mengwe were sincere, and that their proposal had no object in 
view but the preservation of the Indian race. In a luckless 
hour they gave their consent, and agreed to become women. 
This consent was received with great joy. A feast was prepared 
for the purpose of confirming and proclaiming the new order of 


things. With appropriate ceremonies, of which Loskiel has 
given a particular description, 1 the Delawares were installed in 
their new functions, eloquent speeches were delivered, accom 
panied, as usual, with belts of wampum. The great peace belt 
and the chain of friendship (in the figurative language of the 
Indians) was laid across the shoulders of the new mediator, one 
end of which, it was said, was to be taken hold of by all the 
Indian nations, and the other by the Europeans. 2 The Lenape 
say that the Dutch were present at that ceremony, and had no 
inconsiderable share in the intrigue. 3 

1 Loskiel, part I., ch. 10. 2 Ibid. 

3 [The following is the passage from Loskiel, which that historian copied from 
David Zeisberger s " Collection of Notes on the Indians," compiled by the missionary 
during his residence in the valley of the Tuscarawas, about 1778. "According to 
the account of the Delawares, they were always too powerful for the Iroquois, so 
that the latter were at length convinced that if they continued the war, their total 
extirpation would be inevitable. They therefore sent the following message to the 
Delaw r ares : It is not profitable that all the nations should be at war with each other, 
for this will at length be the ruin of the whole Indian race. We have therefore 
considered a remedy by which this evil may be prevented. One nation shall be the 
woman. We will place her in the midst, and the other nations who make war shall 
be the man, and live ai ound the woman. No one shall touch or hurt the woman, 
and if any one does it, we will immediately say to him, " Why do you beat the 
woman ?" Then all the men shall fall upon him who has beaten her. The woman 
shall not go to war, but endeavor to keep peace with all. Therefore, if the men 
that surround her beat each other, and the war be carried on with violence, the 
woman shall have the right of addressing them, "Ye men, what are ye about? why 
do you beat each other? We are almost afraid. Consider that your wives and 
children must perish, unless you desist. Do you mean to destroy yourselves from 
the face of the earth?" The men shall then* hear and obey the woman. The 
Delawares add, that, not immediately perceiving the intention of the Iroquois, 
they submitted to be the woman. The Iroquois then appointed a great feast, and 
invited the Delaware nation to it; when, in consequence of the authority given 
them, they made a solemn speech containing three capital points. The first was, 
that they declared the Delaware nation to be the woman in the following words : 
We dress you in a woman s long habit, reaching down to your feet, and adorn you 
with ear-rings ; meaning that they should no more take up arms. The second point 
was thus expressed : We hnng a calabash filled with oil and medicine upon your 
arm. With the oil you shall cleanse the ears of the other nations, that they may 
attend to good and not to bad words, and with the medicine you shall heal those 
who are walking in foolish ways, that they may return to their senses and incline 
their hearts to peace. The third point, by which the Delawares were exhorted to 
make agriculture their future employ and means of subsistence, was thus worded : 
1 We deliver into your hands a plant of Indian corn and a hoe. Each of these 


The old and intelligent Mahicanni, whose forefathers inhabited 
the country on the east side of the North river, gave many years 
since the following account of the above transaction. They 
said that their grandfather (the Lenni Lenape), and the nations 
or tribes connected with them, were so united, that whatsoever 
nation attacked the one, it was the same as attacking the whole ; 
all in such cases would unite and make a common cause. That 
the long house (council house) of all those who were of the 
same blood, and united under this kind of tacit alliance, reached 
from the head of the tide, at some distance above where Gaasch- 
tinick (Albany) now stands, to the head of the tide water on the 
Potomack. That at each end of this house there was a door 
for the tribes to enter at. That the Mengwe were in no way 
connected with those who had access to this house ; but were 
looked upon as strangers. That the Lenape, with the Mohicans 
and all the other tribes in their connexion, were on the point of 
extirpating the Five Nations, when they applied to the Dutche 
maan, who were now making a settlement at or near Gaasch 
tinick, to assist them in bringing about a peace with the Lenape 
That accordingly these new comers invited the Lenape and Mo 
hicans to a grand council, at a place situated at some distance 
from where Albany now stands, which the white people have 
since called by the name of Nordmaris Kill. That when at 
length, by their united supplications and fair speeches, they had 
got the hatchet out of the hands of the Lenape, they buried 
that weapon at Gaaschtinick, and said that they would build a 
church over the spot, so that the weapon could never any more 
be got at, otherwise than by lifting up the whole church, and 

points was confirmed by delivering a belt of wampum, and these belts have been 
carefully laid up, and their meaning frequently repeated. 

" The Iroquois, on the contrary, assert that they conquered the Delawares, and that 
the latter were forced to adopt the defenceless state and appellation of a woman to 
avoid total ruin. 

"Whether these different accounts be true or false, certain it is that the Delaware 
nation has ever since been looked to for preservation of peace, and entrusted with 
the charge of the great belt of peace and chain of friendship, which they must take 
care to preserve inviolate. According to the figurative explanation of the Indians, 
the middle of the chain of friendship is placed upon the shoulder of the Delaware 
the rest of the Indian nations holding one end and the Europeans the other."] 


whatever nation should dare to do this, on them the Dutche- 
maan would take revenge. That now, having succeeded in get 
ting the weapon out of the hands of the Lenar^ the ceremony 
of placing them in the situation of " the woman," for the pur 
pose of being mediators, took place, when the Mengwe declared 
them henceforth to be their cousins, and the Mahicanni, they 
said, they would call their nephews. 

The Mahicanni further say, that it was fear which induced 
the Dutchemaan to aid the Five Nations in bringing about this 
peace, because at the place where they were at that time making 
their settlement, great bodies of warriors would pass and repass, 
so that they could not avoid being interrupted in their under 
takings, and probably molested, if not destroyed, by one or the 
other of the war parties, as their wars, at that time, were carried 
on with great rage, and no quarter was given. That in pro 
ducing this peace, the white people had effected for the Mengwe, 
what no other nation could have done, and had laid the founda 
tion of the future greatness of their Iroquois friends, as the same 
policy was pursued by the English, after they came into posses 
sion of this country. So far the tradition of the Mahicanni. 

The Rev. Mr. Pyrlaeus, in his notes, after fixing as near as he 
could the time when the Five Nations confederated with each 
other, proceeds in these words : " According to my informant, 
Sganarady, a creditable aged Indian, his grandfather had been 
one of the deputies sent for the purpose of entering into a cove 
nant with the white Europeans ; they met at a place since called 
Nordman s Kill, about four miles below where afterwards Al 
bany was built, where this covenant of friendship was first es 
tablished, and the Mohawks were the active body in effecting 
this work." 

From these three separate accounts of the Lenape, of the 
Mahicanni, and of the Mohawks, as related by Mr. Pyrlaeus, it 
appears to be conclusively proved, that the Europeans were 
already in this country, when the Lenape were persuaded to 
assume the station of the woman, and that the Dutch were assist 
ing in the plot, and were at least the instigators, if not the 
authors of it. It was the Dutch who summoned the great council 
near Albany ; the tomahawk was buried deep in the ground, 


and the vengeance of the Dutch was threatened if it should ever 
be taken up again ; the peace belt was laid across the shoulders 
of the unfortunate Delawares, supported at one end by the Five 
Nations, and at the other by the Europeans; all these circum 
stances point so clearly to European intrigue, that it is impossi 
ble to resist the conclusion that the whites adopted this means 
to neutralize the power of the Delawares and their friends, 
whom they dreaded, and strengthen the hands of the Iroquois, 
who were in their alliance. 

The Iroquois have denied that these machinations ever took 
place, and say that they conquered the Delawares in fair battle, 
and compelled them by force to become women, or in other 
words that they obliged them to submit to the greatest humilia 
tion to which a warlike spirited people can ever be reduced ; not 
a momentary humiliation, as when the Romans were compelled 
by the Samnites to pass under the Caudine forks, but a perma 
nent disgrace, which was to last as long as their national exist 
ence. If this were true, the Lenape and their allies, who, like 
all other Indian nations, never considered a treaty binding when 
entered into under any kind of compulsion, would not have sub 
mitted to this any longer than until they could again have rallied 
their forces and fallen upon their enemy ; they would have done 
long before the year i^Sjj what they did at last at that time, 
joined the French in their wars against the Iroquois and English, 
and would not have patiently waited more than a century before 
they took their revenge for so flagrant an outrage. Their num 
bers, acknowledged to have been far superior to that of their 
Indian enemies, and the vast extent of territory which they pos 
sessed, furnished them with ample means to have acted hostilely, 
if they had thought proper. On the contrary, they lived at 
peace with the Iroquois, and their European allies, until that 
decisive war, by which the French lost at once all their exten 
sive possessions on the continent of America. 

In addition to these positive proofs, negative evidence of the 
strongest kind may be adduced. The Iroquois say, indeed, that 
they conquered the Delawares and their allies, and compelled 
them to become women. But there is no tradition among them 
of the particulars of this important event. Neither Mr. Pyrloeus, 


nor Mr. Zeisberger, 1 who both lived long among the Five 
Nations, and spoke and understood their language well, could 
obtain from them any details relative to this supposed conquest ; 
they ought, certainly, to have been able to say how it was 
effected; whether by one decisive fight or by successive en 
gagements, or at least, when the last battle took place ; who 
were the nations or tribes engaged in it; who the chiefs of 
commanders ; what numbers fell on each side ; and a variety of 
other facts, by which the truth of their assertion might have 
been proved : the total absence of such details appears to me to 
militate against them in the strongest manner, and to corrobo 
rate the statement of their adversaries. 

The Delawares are of opinion, that this scheme of the Five 
Nations, however deeply laid, and meant essentially to injure 
them, would not, however, have operated against them, but on 
the contrary, have greatly subserved their national interest, if 
the Europeans had not afterwards come into the country in such 
great numbers, and multiplied so rapidly as they did. For 
their neutral position would greatly have favoured their increase, 
while the numbers of the other Indian nations would have been 
reduced by the wars in which they were continually engaged. 
But unfortunately for them, it happened that the Europeans 
successively invaded the country which they occupied, and now 
forms what are called the middle states, and as they advanced 
from the Atlantic, into the interior, drove before them the 
Lenape and their allies, and obtained possession of their lands ; 
while the Iroquois, who happened to be placed in the neigh 
bourhood of Canada, between the French and English, who were 

1 [ The Life and Times of David Zeisberger, the Western Pioneer and Apostle to the 
Indians, by Edmund de Sckweinitz, Phila.. 1870, reviews the Moravian mission 
among the North American Indians from its beginnings to recent times, besides very 
fully portraying the career of the veteran missionary, who spent upwards of sixty 
years of his life as an evangelist to the Indians, thirty-six of which were passed 
within the limits of the present State of Ohio. He died on the iyth of November, 
1808, at Goshen, on the Tuscarawas, in the 88th year of his age. Zeisberger, in the 
course of his long life in the Indian country, mastered the Delaware and the Onon- 
daga of the Iroquois, into the former of which he made translations of a number of 
devotional books, while he studied both critically, as his literary efforts in that 
direction, partly published and partly in MS., amply testify.] 


frequently at war with each other, had an enemy, it is true, in 
the French nation, but had strong protectors in the English, 
who considered them as a check upon their enemies, and, being 
the most numerous people, were best able to afford them pro 
tection ; thus they were suffered to increase and become power 
ful, while the Lenape, having no friend near them, the French 
being then at too great a distance, were entirely at the mercy 
of their English neighbours, who, advancing fast on their lands, 
gradually dispersed them, and other causes concurring, pro 
duced at last their almost entire destruction. Among those 
causes the treacherous conduct of the Five Nations may be 
considered as the principal one. 

Before that strange metamorphosis took place, of a great and 
powerful nation being transformed into a band of defenceless 
women, the Iroquois had never been permitted to visit the 
Lenape, even when they were at peace with each other. When 
ever a Mengwe appeared in their country, he was hunted down 
as a beast of prey, and it was lawful for every one to destroy 
him. But now, the woman could not, consistently with her new 
station and her engagements, make use of destructive weapons, 
and she was bound to abstain from all violence against the 
human species. Her late enemies, therefore, found no difficulty 
in travelling, under various pretences, through her country, and 
those of her allies, and leaving here and there a few of their 
people to remain among them as long as t)iey pleased, for the 
purpose, as they said, of keeping up a good understanding, and 
assisting them in the preservation of the general peace. But 
while they were amusing the Lenape with flattering language, 
they were concerting measures to disturb their quiet by involv 
ing them in difficulties with the neighbouring nations. I shall 
relate one among many instances of a similar conduct. They 
once sent their men into the Cherokee country, who were 
instructed secretly to kill one of that nation, and to leave a war 
club near the person murdered, which had been purposely made 
after the manner and in the shape of those of the Del.ajyares. 
Now leaving a war club in an Indian country, is considered by 
those nations as a formal challenge or declaration of war. The 
Cherokees, deceived by appearances, and believing that their 


grandfather the Lenape had committed the murder, collected a 
large party to go into their country and take their revenge. 
Meanwhile, the Iroquois sent a messenger to the Lenape, to 
inform them of the approach of an enemy, who, they had learned 
from their hunters, was coming towards their settlement, and to 
advise them to send a number of their men immediately to a certain 
place, where they would be met by a large body of the Five Na 
tions, who would take the lead, march in front, and fight their 
battles, so that they would have little else to do than to look on 
and see how well their friends fought for them. The Lenape, 
being in no wise prepared to meet a powerful foe, assembled in 
haste a few of their men, and repaired to the place of rendezvous, 
where they were disappointed by not meeting any of their pre 
tended protectors. The enemy, however, was close upon them ; 
the Lenape fought with great courage, but were overpowered by 
an immense superiority of numbers, and defeated with con 
siderable loss. Now the Iroquois made their appearance, and 
instead of attacking or pursuing the Cherokees, loaded the 
Delawares with reproaches, for their temerity, as they called it, 
in having dared, being women, to take the lead in attacking 
men. They told them that the Five Nations being their supe 
riors, they ought to have waited for them before they attacked 
the Cherokees, that then their protectors would have fought and 
defeated them, but that as they had thought proper to act by 
themselves, they had received the punishment justly due to 
their presumption. 

It was thus that the Five Nations rewarded the confidence 
that the Delawares had placed in them. Their treachery was 
not, however, suspected for a long time; but it was at last dis 
covered ; it was even found out that in this last engagement, a 
number of the Iroquois had joined in fight against them with 
their enemies. The Lenape then determined to unite their 
forces, and by one great effort to destroy entirely that perfidious 
nation. This, they say, they might easily have done, as they 
were then yet as numerous as the grasshoppers at particular sea 
sons, and as destructive to their enemies as these insects are to 
the fruits of the earth ; while they described the Mengwe as a 
number of croaking frogs in a pond, which make a great noise 


when all is quiet, but at the first approach of danger, nay, at the 
very rustling of a leaf, immediately plunge into the water and 
are silent. 

But their attention was now diverted by other scenes. The 
whites were again landing in great numbers on their coast, in 
the east and south, and this spectacle once more engaged all the 
capacity of their minds. They were lost in admiration at what 
they saw, and were consulting and deliberating together on 
what they should do. The Five Nations, who lived out of the 
reach of all danger, nevertheless also came ; but bent on their 
own interest, while they were instigating the other nations to 
fall upon the new comers, or drive them off from their shores, 
by which they caused useless hostilities, in which they did not 
appear to participate, they were insinuating themselves into the 
favour of the powerful strangers, professing great friendship for 
them, persuading them that they were superior to the other 
Indian nations, that they had controul over them all, and would 
chastise those who should disturb their peace. 

William Penn came, with his train of pacific followers. Never 
will the Delawares forget their elder brother Miquon, as they 
affectionately and respectfully call him. From his first arrival 
in their country, a friendship was formed between them which 
was to last as long as the sun should shine, and the rivers flow 
with water. That friendship would undoubtedly have continued 
to the end of time, had their good brother always remained 
among them, but in his absence, mischievous people, say they, 
got into power, who, not content with the land which had been 
given to them, contrived to get all that they wanted ; and when 
the Lenape looked round for the friends of their brother 
Miquon, to hear their just complaints, and redress their wrongs, 
they could not discover them, and had the misfortune to see 
their greatest enemies, the Mengwe, brought on for the purpose 
of shutting their mouths, and compelling them to submit to the 
injustice done them. 

They cannot conceive how the English could turn from the 
people by whom they had been so kindly received and wel 
comed with open arms ; from those who had permitted them to 
sit down upon their lands in peace, and without fear of being 


molested by them ; who had taken delight in supplying all their 
wants, 1 and who were happy in smoking the pipe of friendship 
with them at one and the same fire ; how they could not only 
see them degraded and injured by a base and perfidious nation, 
but join with that nation in sinking them still lower. For to 
the countenance of the English, they say, is entirely owing the 
great preponderance which the Iroquois at last attained : they 
complain that the English did support that enemy against them, 
that they even sanctioned their insolence, by telling them to 
make use of their authority as men, and bring these women (the 
Lenape) to their senses. That they were even insulted and 
treated in a degrading manner, in treaties to which the English 
were parties, and particularly in that which took place at Easton, 2 
in Pennsylvania, in July, I/42, 3 when the Six Nations were pub 
licly called on to compel the Delawares to give up the land 
taken from them by the long day s walk. But for these repeated 
outrages, they would not have taken part with the French in the 
memorable war of I/55- 4 Nor, perhaps, would they have done 
so, had not they been seduced into the measure by the perfidi 
ous Iroquois. At the commencement of that, war, they brought 
the war belt, with a piece of tobacco, to the Delawares, and told 
them : " Remember that the English have unjustly deprived you 

1 Mr. Proud, in his History of Pennsylvania, relates that, some time after the 
establishment of William Penn s government, the Indians used to supply the family 
of one John Chapman, whose descendants still reside in Bucks County, with all 
kinds of provisions, and mentions an affecting instance of their kindness to that 
family. Abraham and John Chapman, twin children about nine or ten years old, 
going out one evening to seek their cattle, met an Indian in the woods, who told 
them to go back, else they would be lost. They took his advice and went back, but 
it was night before they got home, where they found the Indian, who had repaired 
thither out of anxiety for them. And their parents, about that time, going to the 
yearly meeting at Philadelphia, and leaving a young family at home, the Indians 
came every day to see whether anything was amiss among them. Such (says Proud) 
in many instances was the kind treatment of the Aborigines of this country to the 
English in their first and early settlement. Proud s Hist., Vol. I., pp. 223, 224. 

2 [For " Easton in Pennsylvania," read Philadelphia. Easton, the county-seat of 
Northampton County, was laid out in the spring of 1752.] 

3 For " 1742," read "and November, 1756." [The latter was held at Easton ] 

4 [The so-called French and Indian war, the fourth and last of the inter-colonial 
wars, which originated in disputes between the French and English concerning ter 
ritorial claims, and which, after a seven years contest, resulted in establishing the 
supremacy of the latter over the civilized portions of North America.] 


of much of your land, which they took from you by force. Your 
cause is just; therefore smoke of this tobacco, and arise; join 
with us our fathers, the French, and take your revenge. You 
are women, it is true, but we will shorten your petticoats, and 
though you may appear by your dress to be women, yet by your 
conduct and language you will convince your enemies that you 
are determined not tamely to suffer the wrongs and injuries 
inflicted upon you." 

Yielding to these solicitations, the Delawares and their con 
nexions took up arms against the English in favor of the French, 
and committed many hostilities, in which the Iroquois appeared 
to take no part. Sir William Johnson requested them to use 
their ascendancy and- to persuade the hostile Indians to lay 
down the hatchet, instead of which, instead of conforming to 
the ancient custom of Indian nations, which was simply to take 
the war-hatchet back from those to whom they had given it, 
they fell on a sudden on the unsuspecting Lenape, killed their 
cattle, and destroyed their town on the Susquehannah, and having 
taken a number of them prisoners, carried them to Sir William 
Johnson, who confined and put them in irons. This cruel act of 
treachery, the Delawares say, they will never forget nor forgive. 

Thus the Lenape, whose principal settlements were then on 
the frontier of Pennsylvania, took part with the French, and 
acted hostilely against the English during the whole of the war 
of 1755. The animosity which mutual hostilities produced 
between them and the settlers concurred, no doubt, with other 
causes, in producing the murder of the Conestogo Indians, which 
took place at the close of that war, in December, 1763, and is 
feelingly related by Loskiel, part I., ch. 14 and I5. 1 

1 [The Conestogas remained on their ancestral seats, near the mouth of the Cones- 
toga, in Manor township, Lancaster County, Penna., long after the other Indians on 
the Susquehanna had been crowded by the advance of civilization beyond Shamo- 
kin. Here the remnant of this tribe was fallen upon by Scotch-Irish partizans of 
Paxton township (now within the limits of Dauphin County) in December of 1763, 
all that were at the settlement killed, and their cabins burnt to the ground. Ten 
days later, the remainder of this inoffensive people, who had been lodged in the 
jail at Lancaster, were inhumanly butchered by the same band of lawless frontiers 
men. In Heckewelder s " Narrative of the Mission of the United Brethren among 
the Delaware and Mohegan Indians," there is a statement by an eye-witness, touch 
ing the last scene in this bloody tragedy.] 


The revolutionary war put an end to the exorbitant power of 
the Iroquois. They were, indeed, still supported by the British 
government, but the Americans were now the strongest party, 
and of course against them. They endeavored to persuade the 
other Indian nations to join them, but their expectations were 
deceived. At a meeting which took place at Pittsburg in 1775, 
for the express purpose of deliberating on the part which it 
became Indians to take in the disturbances which had arisen be 
tween the King of Great Britain and his subjects, Capt White 
Eyes, a sensible and very spirited warrior of the Lenape, 1 boldly 
declared to a select body of the Senecas, that his Indians would 
never join any nation or power, for the purpose of destroying a 
people who were born on the same soil with them. That the 
Americans were his friends and brothers, and that no nation 
should dictate to him what part he should take in the existing 
war. Anticipating the measure which the American Congress 
took in the succeeding year, he declared himself? in behalf of 
his nation, free and independent of the Iroquois ; they had pre 
tended that they had conquered him, they had made a woman 
of him and dressed him in woman s apparel, but now he was 
again a man, he stood before them as a man, and with the 
weapons of a man he would assert his claim to all yonder coun 
try, pointing to the land on the west side of the Allegheny 
river ; for to him it belonged, and not to the Six Nations, who 
falsely asserted that they had acquired it by conquest. In the 

1 [White Eyes, alias Koquethagachton, a celebrated captain and counsellor of the 
Delawares of the Ohio country, was first met by Heckewelder at his home, near the 
mouth of the Beaver (above Pittsburg), when the latter was on his way to the Tus- 
carawas, in the spring of 1762. When Zeisberger entered the valley of that river, 
in 1772, and built Schonbrunn, the chieftain was residing six miles below Gekele- 
mukpechunk, the then capital of his nation, in the present Oxford township, Coshoc- 
ton County. In Dunmore s war, as well as in the war of the Revolution, White Eyes 
strove strenuously to keep the Delawares neutral. Failing in this in the latter con 
test, and seeing himself necessitated to take sides, he declared for the Americans, 
joined Gen. Mclntosh s command, but died at Fort Laurens, on the Tuscarawas, in 
November of 1778, before the projected expedition, which was aimed at the San- 
dusky towns, moved. White Eyes was a warm friend of the Moravian mission, and 
was deeply interested in the progress of his people in the arts of civilized life.] 

2 Indian chiefs, in their public speeches, always speak on behalf of their nation 
in the singular number and in the first person, considering themselves, in a manner, 
as its representatives. 


year 1778 or 1779, the Lenape bravely asserted their national 
independence by joining Col. Brodhead s troops in an expedition 
against the Senecas. 1 If they did not do as much in that war as 
might have been expected of them, and took only a partial re 
venge, it was owing to the death of their brave chief, White 
Eyes, who died of the small pox at Pittsburg, I think, in the 
year 1780. He was a Christian in his heart, but did not live to 
make a public profession of our religion, though it is well known 
that he persuaded many Indians to embrace it. 2 

Although the Lenape acted independently in the war of 1755, 
and made a formal declaration of their independence at the be 
ginning of the revolutionary war, yet the Six Nations persevered 
in their pretensions, and still affected to consider them as women. 
Finding, however, that this obsolete claim was no longer ac 
knowledged, and that it was useless to insist upon it any longer, 
they came forward of their own accord, about the time of 
Wayne s treaty, and formally declared that the Lenape and their 
allies were no longer women, but MEN. 

The Delawares and Mohicans agree in saying, that from the 
time of the fatal treaty in which they were persuaded to assimi 
late themselves to women, and, indeed, ever since the Europeans 
first came into the country, the conduct of the Iroquois was 
treacherous and perfidious in the extreme. That it was their 
constant practice to sally out secretly and commit depredations 
on the neighbouring nations, with intent to involve them in 
wars with each other. That they would also commit murders 
on the frontier settlers, from Virginia to New England, and 
charge the tribes who were settled in the neighbourhood with 
the commission of those crimes. That they would then turn 
negotiators, and effect a peace, always at the expense of the 
nation whom they had injured. They would sell the lands of 
other nations to the English and receive the money, pretend 
ing to a paramount right to the whole territory, and this, say 
the Lenape, was their manner of CONQUERING NATIONS ! 

1 [In August of 1779, Col. Daniel Brodhead, then commandant of Fort Pitt, moved 
with some troops up the Allegheny, and in the forks of that river destroyed several 
settlements, inhabited by Monsey and Seneca Indians. - The Delawares," he writes 
m his report to the War Department, " are ready to follow me wherever I C o "1 

2 Loskiel, part II., ch. 8. 



[HE Lenni Lenape claim the honour of having received 
and welcomed the Europeans on their first arrival in 
the country, situated between New England and Vir 
ginia. It is probable, however, that the Mahicanni or 
Mohicans, who then inhabited the banks of the Hudson, con 
curred in the hospitable act. The relation I am going to make 
was taken down many years since from the mouth of an intelli 
gent Delaware Indian, and may be considered as a correct 
account of the tradition existing among them of this momen 
tous event. I give it as much as possible in their own language. 
A great many years ago, when men with a white skin had 
never yet been seen in this land, some Indians who were out a 
fishing, at a place where the sea widens, espied at a great 
distance something remarkably large floating on the water, and 
such as they had never seen before. These Indians imme 
diately returning to the shore, apprised their countrymen of 
what they had observed, and pressed them to go out with them 
and discover what it might be. They hurried out together, and 
saw with astonishment the phenomenon which now appeared to 
their sight, but could not agree upon what it was ; some be 
lieved it to be an uncommonly large fish or animal, while others 
were of opinion it must be a very big house floating on the sea. 
At length the spectators concluded that this wonderful object 
was moving towards the land, and that it must be an animal or 
something else that had life in it ; it would therefore be proper 
to inform all the Indians on the inhabited islands of what they 



had seen, and put them on their guard. Accordingly they sent 
off a number of runners and watermen to carry the news to their 
scattered chiefs, that they might send off in every direction for 
the warriors, with a message that they should come on imme 
diately. These arriving in numbers, and having themselves 
viewed the strange appearance, and observing that it was 
actually moving towards the entrance of the river or bay ; con 
cluded it to be a remarkably large house in which the Mannitto 
(the Great or Supreme Being) himself was present, and that he 
probably was coming to visit them. 1 By this time the chiefs 
were assembled at York island, and deliberating in what manner 
in which 2 they should receive their Mannitto on his arrival. 
Every measure was taken to be well provided with plenty of 
meat for a sacrifice. The women were desired to prepare the 
best victuals. All the idols or images were examined and put in 
order, and a grand dance was supposed not only to be an agreea 
ble entertainment for the Great Being, but it was believed that 
it might, with the addition of a sacrifice, contribute to appease 
him if he was angry with them. The conjurers were also set to 
work, to determine what this phenomenon portended, and what 
the possible result of it might be. To these and to the chiefs 
and wise men of the nations, men, women, and children were 
looking up for advice and protection. Distracted between hope 
and fear, they were at a loss what to do; a dance, however, 
commenced in great confusion. While in this situation, fresh 
runners arrive declaring it to be a large house of various colours, 
and crowded with living creatures. It appears now to be certain, 
that it is the great Mannitto, bringing them some kind of game, 
such as he had not given them before, but other runners soon 
after arriving declare that it is positively a house full of human 
beings, of quite a different colour from that of the Indians, and 
dressed differently from them ; that in particular one of them 
was dressed entirely in red, who must be the Mannitto himself. 

1 Henry Hudson, a British navigator and discoverer in the employ of the Dutch 
East India Company, sailed from Amsterdam in command of the Half Moon, in 
April of 1609, in search of a north-eastern passage. Foiled by the ice in the higher 
latitudes, he turned southwards, and in September anchored in New York bay. 

3 Dele " in which." 


They are hailed from the vessel in a language they do not 
understand, yet they shout or yell in return by way of answer, 
according to the custom of their country; many are for running 
off to the woods, but are pressed by others to stay, in order not 
to give offence to their visitor, who might find them out and de 
stroy them. The house, some say, large canoe, at last stops, 
and a canoe of a smaller size comes on shore with the red man, 
and some others in it ; some stay with his canoe to guard it. 
The chiefs and wise men, assembled in council, form themselves 
into a large circle, towards which the man in red clothes ap 
proaches with two others. He salutes them with a friendly 
countenance, and they return the salute after their manner. 
They are lost in admiration ; the dress, the manners, the whole 
appearance of the unknown strangers is to them a subject of 
wonder ; but they are particularly struck with him who wore 
the red coat all glittering with gold lace, which they could in no 
manner account for. He, surely, must be the great Mannitto, 
but why should he have a white skin ? Meanwhile, a large 
Hackhack 1 is brought by one of his servants, from which an 
unknown substance is poured out into a small, cup or glass, and 
handed to the supposed Mannitto. He drinks has the glass 
filled again, and hands it to the chief standing next to him. 
The chief receives it, but only smells the contents and passes it 
on to the next chief, who does the san^e. The glass or cup thus 
passes through the circle, without the liquor being tasted by any 
one, and is upon the point of being returned to the red clothed 
Mannitto, when one of the Indians, a brave man and a great 
warrior, suddenly jumps up and harangues the assembly on 
the impropriety of returning the cup with its contents. It was 
handed to them, says he, by the Mannitto, that they should 
drink out of it, as he himself had done. To follow his example 
would be pleasing to him ; but to return what he had given 
them might provoke his wrath, and bring destruction on them. 
And since the orator believed it for the good of the nation that 
the contents offered them should be drunk, and as no one else 
would do it, he would drink it himself, let the consequence be 

1 Hackhack is properly a gourd; but since they have seen glass bottles and 
decanters, they call them by the same name. 


what it might; it was better for one man to die, than that a 
whole nation should be destroyed. He then took the glass, and 
bidding the assembly a solemn farewell, at once drank up its 
whole contents. Every eye was fixed on the resolute chief, to 
see what effect the unknown liquor would produce. He soon 
began to stagger, and at last fell prostrate on the ground. His 
companions now bemoan his fate, he falls into a sound sleep, 
and they think he has expired. He wakes again, jumps up and 
declares, that he has enjoyed the most delicious sensations, and 
that he never before felt himself so happy as after he had drunk 
the cup. He asks for more, his wish is granted; the whole 
assembly then imitate him, and all become intoxicated. 

After this general intoxication had ceased, for they say that 
while it lasted the whites had confined themselves to their 
vessel, the man with the red clothes returned again, and dis 
tributed presents among them, consisting of beads, axes, hoes, 
and stockings such as the white people wear. They soon 
became familiar with each other, and began to converse by 
signs. The Dutch made them understand that they would not 
stay here, that they would return home again, but would pay 
them another visit the next year, when they would bring them 
more presents, and stay with them awhile ; but as they could not 
live without eating, they should want a little land of them to sow 
seeds, in order to raise herbs and vegetables to put into their 
broth. They went away as they had said, and returned in the 
following season, when both parties were much rejoiced to see 
each other ; but the whites laughed at the Indians, seeing that 
they knew not the use of the axes and hoes they had given 
them the year before; for they had these hanging to their 
breasts as ornaments, and the stockings were made use of as 
tobacco pouches. The whites now put handles to the former 
for them, and cut trees down before their eyes, hoed up the 
ground, and put the stockings on their legs. Here, they say, a 
general laughter ensued among the Indians, that they had 
remained ignorant of the use of such valuable implements, and 
had borne the weight of such heavy metal hanging to their 
necks, for such a length of time. They took every white man 
they saw for an inferior Mannitto attendant upon the supreme 


Deity who shone superior in the red and laced clothes. As 
the whites became daily more familiar with the Indians, they at 
last proposed to stay with them, and asked only for so much 
ground for a garden spot as, they said, the hide of a bullock 
would cover or encompass, which hide was spread before them. 
The Indians readily granted this apparently reasonable request; 
but the whites then took a knife, and beginning at one end 
of the hide, cut it up to a long rope, not thicker than a child s 
finger, so that by the time the whole was cut up, it made a 
great heap ; they then took the rope at one end, and drew 
it gently along, carefully avoiding its breaking. It was drawn 
out into a circular form, and being closed at its ends, encom 
passed a large piece of ground. The Indians were surprised at 
the superior wit of the whites, 1 but did not wish to contend 
with them about a little land, as they had still enough them 
selves. The white and red men lived contentedly together for a 
long time, though the former from time to time asked for more 
land, which was readily obtained, and thus they gradually pro 
ceeded higher up the Mahicannittuck, until the Indians began 
to believe that they would soon want all their country, which 
in the end proved true. 

1 These Dutchmen were probably acquainted with what is related of Queen Dido 
in ancient history, and thus turned their classical knowledge to a good account. 



and dismal are the complaints which the Indians 
make of European ingratitude and injustice. They 
love to repeat them, and always do it with the elo 
quence of nature, aided by an energetic and compre 
hensive language, which our polished idioms cannot imitate. 
Often I have listened to these descriptions of their hard suffer 
ings, until I felt ashamed of being a white man. 

They are, in general, very minute in these recitals, and pro 
ceed with a great degree of order and regularity. They begin 
with the Virginians, whom they call the long knives, and who 
were the first European settlers in this part of the American 
continent. " It was we," say the Lenape, Mohicans, and their 
kindred tribes, " who so kindly received them on their first 
arrival into our country. We took them by the hand, and bid 
them welcome to sit down by our side, and live with us as 
brothers ; but how did they requite our kindness ? They at first 
asked only for a little land on which to raise bread for them 
selves and their families, and pasture for their cattle, which we 
freely gave them. They soon wanted more, which we also gave 
them. They saw the game in the woods, which the Great 
Spirit had given us for our subsistence, and they wanted that 
too. They penetrated into the woods in quest of game ; they 
discovered spots of land which pleased them ; that land they 
also wanted, and because we were loth to part with it, as we saw XN 
they had already more than they had need of, they took it from 



us by force, and drove us to a great distance from our ancient 

" By and by the Dittchemaan * arrived at Manahachtdnienk" 2 
(here they relate with all its details what has been said in the 
preceding chapter.) " The great man wanted only a little, little 
land, on which to raise greens for his soup, just as much as a 
bullock s hide would cover. Here we first might have observed 
their deceitful spirit. The bullock s hide was cut up into little 
strips, and did not cover, indeed, but encircled a very large piece 
of land, which we foolishly granted to them. They were to 
raise greens on it, instead of which they planted great guns ; 
afterwards they built strong houses, made themselves masters 
of the Island, then went up the river to our enemies, the Mengwe, 
made a league with them, persuaded us by their wicked arts to 
lay down our arms, and at last drove us entirely out of the 
country." Here, of course, is related at full length, the story 
which we have told in the first chapter. Then the Delawares 3 

" When the Yengeese* arrived at Machtitschwanne? they looked 
about everywhere for good spots of land, and when they found 
one, they immediately and without ceremony possessed them 
selves of it ; we were astonished, but still we let them go on 
not thinking it worth while to contend for a little land. Butj 
when at last they came to our favourite spots, those which lay 
most convenient to our fisheries, then bloody wars ensued : we 
would have been contented that the white people and we should 
have lived quietly beside each other; but these white men en 
croached so fast upon us, that we saw at once we should lose 
all, if we did not resist them. The wars that we carried on 
against each other were long and cruel. We were enraged when 

1 The Hollanders. 

2 Manhattan, or New York Island. 

3 For "Delawares " read "Mohicans" 

4 An Indian corruption of the word English, whence probably the nickname 

5 This word means a cluster of islands with channels every way, so that it is in 
no place shut up or impassable for craft." The Indians think that the white people 
have corrupted this word into Massachusetts. It deserves to bfe remarked as an 
example of the comprehensiveness of the Indian languages. 


I we saw the white people put our friends and relatives, whom 
they had taken prisoners, on board of their ships, and carry them 
off to sea, whether to drown or sell them as slaves, in the 
country from which they came, we knew not, but certain it is 
that none of them have ever returned or even been heard of. At 
last they got possession of the whole of the country which the 
Great Spirit had given us. One of our tribes was forced to 
wander far beyond Quebec; others dispersed in small bodies, 
and sought places of refuge where they could; some came to 
Pennsylvania; others went far to the westward and mingled 
with other tribes. 

" To many of those, Pennsylvania was a last, delightful 
asylum. But here, again, the Europeans disturbed them, and 
forced them to emigrate, although they had been most kindly 
and hospitably received. On which ever side of the Lenapewi- 
hittuck^ the white people landed, they were welcomed as brothers 
by our ancestors, who gave them lands to live on, and even 
hunted for them, and furnished them with meat out of the 
woods. Such was our conduct to the white men 2 who inhabited 
this country, until our elder brother, the great and good MiQUON, 3 
came and brought us words of peace and good will. We be 
lieved his words, and his memory is still held in veneration 
among us. But it was not long before our joy was turned into 
sorrow : our brother Miquon died, and those of his good coun 
sellors who were of his mind, and knew what had passed 
between him and our ancestors, were no longer listened to ; the 
strangers 4 who had taken their places, no longer spoke to us of 
sitting down by the side of each other as brothers of one 
family; they forgot that friendship which their great man had 
established with us, and was to last to the end of time ; they 
now only strove to get all our land from us by fraud or by force, 
and when we attempted to remind them of what our good 
brother had said, they became angry, and sent word to our ene- 

1 The Delaware river. I have said above, p. 51, that Hittuck means a rapid 
stream. I should have added that it means so only when placed at the end of 
another word, and used as a compound. Singly, it signifies a tree. 

2 The Swedes and Dutch. 

3 William Penn. 

* Land traders and speculators. 


mies, the Mengwe, to meet them at a great council which they 
were to hold with us at Lcehauwake^ where they should take us 
by the hair of our heads and shake us well. The Mengwe 
came ; the council was held, and in the presence of the white 
men, who did not contradict them, they told us that we were 
women, and that they had made us such ; that we had no right 
to any land, because it was all theirs ; that we must be gone ; 
and that as a great favour they permitted us to go and settle 
further into the country, at the place which they themselves 
pointed out at Wyoming." 2 

Thus these good Indians, with a kind of melancholy pleasure, 
recite the long history of their sufferings. After having gone 
through these painful details, they seldom fail to indulge in 
bitter, but too just reflections, upon the men of Europe. "We 
and our kindred tribes," say they, "lived in peace and harmony 
with each other before the white people came into this country ; 
our council house 3 extended far to the north and far to the 
south. In the middle of it we would meet from all parts to 
smoke the pipe of peace together. When the white men 
arrived in the south, we received them as friends ; we did the 
same when they arrived in the east. It was we, it was our fore 
fathers, who made them welcome, and let them sit down by our 
side. The land they settled on was ours. We knew not but 
the Great Spirit had sent them to us for some good purpose, 
and therefore we thought they must be a good people. We 
were mistaken ; for no sooner had they obtained a footing on 
our lands, than they began to pull our council house down, 4 first 
at one end and then at the other, and at last meeting each other 
at the centre, where the council fire was yet burning bright, they 
put it out, 5 and extinguished it with our own blood! 6 with the 

1 Eastern, Northampton County, Pa. 

2 This actually took place at a treaty held at Easton in July and November, 1756. 

3 Council hottse here means "Connexion District." 

4 Pulling the council house down. Destroying, dispersing the community, pre 
venting their further intercourse with each other, by settling between them on their 

5 Ptitting the fire out. Murdering them or their people, where they assemble for 
pacific purposes, where treaties are held, &c. 

6 Our own blood. The blood flowing from the veins of some of our community. 


blood of those l who with us had received them ! who had wel 
comed them in our land ! Their blood ran in streams into our 
fire, and extinguished it so entirely, that not one spark was left 
us whereby to kindle a new fire ; 2 we were compelled to with 
draw ourselves beyond the great swamp, 3 and to fly to our good 
uncle, the Delamattenos? who kindly gave us a tract of land to 
live on. How long we shall be permitted to remain in this 
asylum, the Great Spirit only knows. The whites will not rest 
contented until they shall have destroyed the last of us, and 
made us disappear entirely from the face of the earth." 

I have given here only a brief specimen of the charges which 
they exhibit against the white people. There are men among 
them, who have by heart the whole history of what took place 
between the whites and the Indians, since the former first came 
into their country ; and relate the whole with ease and with 
an eloquence not to be imitated. On the tablets of their mem 
ories they preserve this record for posterity. I, at one time, 
in April, 1787,* was astonished when I heard one of their orators, 
a great chief of the Delaware nation, 6 go over this ground, re 
capitulating the most extraordinary events which had before 

1 Alluding to the murder of the Conestogo Indians, who, though of another tribe, 
yet had joined them in welcoming the white people to their shores. 

In a narrative of this lamentable event, supposed to have been written by the late 
Dr. Franklin, it is said : " On the first arrival of the English in Pennsylvania, mes 
sengers from this tribe came to welcome them with presents of venison, corn, and 
skins, and the whole tribe entered into a treaty of friendship with the first proprietor, 
William Penn, which was to last as long as the sun should shine, or the waters run 
in the rivers." 

* The fire was entirely extinguished by the blood of the murdered running into it ; 
not a spark "was left to kindle a new fire. This alludes to the last fire that was kin 
dled by the Pennsylvania government and themselves at Lancaster, where the last 
treaty was held with them in 1762, the year preceding this murder, which put an 
end to all business of the kind in the province of Pennsylvania. 

3 The great Swamp. The Glades on the Allegheny mountains. 

4 Delamattenos. The Hurons or Wyandots, whom they call their uncle. These, 
though speaking a dialect of the Iroquois language, are in connexion with the 

5 For "1787" read "1781." 

[These were the words of a war-chief of the Delawares, as by 
name, in the course of an address to the Moravian Indians at Gnadenhutten, in 
which he sought to persuade them to remove from their exposed position on the 
Tuscarawas to a place of safety among the Wyandots of the Maumee.] 


happened, and concluding in these words : " I admit that there 
are good white men, but they bear no proportion to the bad; 
the bad must be the strongest, for they rule. They do what 
they please. They enslave those who are not of their colour, 
although created by the same Great Spirit who created us. 1 
They would make slaves of us if they could, but as they cannot 
do it, they kill us ! There is no faith to be placed in their words. 
They are not like the Indians, who are only enemies, while at 
war, and are friends in peace. They will say to an Indian, my 
friend! my brother ! They will take him by the hand, and at 
the same moment destroy him. And so you (addressing him 
self to the Christian Indians) will also be treated by them 
before long. Remember ! that this day I have warned you to 
beware of such friends as these. I know the long knives ; they 
are not to be trusted." 

Eleven months after this speech was delivered by this pro 
phetic chief, ninety-six of the same Christian Indians, about 
sixty of them women and children, were murdered at the place 
where these very words had been spoken, by the same men he 
had alluded to, and in the same manner that he had described. 
See Loskiel s History, part III., ch. IO. 2 

1 For "us" read "them." 

2 [The massacre of Moravian Indians at Gnadenhutten was perpetrated on the 8th 
of March, 1782, by militia led by Col. David Williamson, of Washington County, 
Pa. The details of this atrocious affair are very minutely given by De Schweinitz 
in The Life and Times of David Zeisberger, While such of the borderers as had 
suffered from Indian forays sought to extenuate the deplorable transaction, it was at 
the same time made the subject of an investigation at the head-quarters of the depart 
ment. With what result, however, is inferable from the following extract from a 
letter written by Gen. Irvine to His Excellency William Moore, President of the 
Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, and dated Fort Pitt, May 9, 1782: 
" Since my letter of the 3d inst. to your excellency, Mr. Pentecost and Mr. Cannon 
have been with me. They, and every intelligent person whom I have consulted 
with on the subject, are of opinion that it will be almost impossible ever to obtain a 
just account of the conduct of the militia at Muskingum. No man can give any account, 
except some of the party themselves ; if, therefore, an inquiry should appear serious, 
they are not obliged, nor will they give evidence. For this and other reasons, I am 
of opinion farther inquiry into the matter will not only be fruitless, but in the end 
may be attended with dangerous consequences. A volunteer expedition is talked of 
against Sandusky, which, if well conducted, may be of great service to this country, 
if they behave well on this occasion. It may also in some measure atone for the 



barbarity they are charged with at Muskingum. They have consulted me, and shall 
have every countenance in my power, if their numbers, arrangements, &c., promise 
a prospect of success." MS. in the Irvine Collection.] 

[The following is a letter from Col. John Gibson, to the Right Rev. Nathaniel 
Seidel, senior Bishop of the Moravian Church at Bethlehem, dated Fort Pitt, May 9, 

SiR: Your letter by Mr. Shebosh of the nth ult., came safe to hand. I am 
happy to find that the few small services I rendered to the gentlemen of your 
society in this quarter, meet with the approbation of you and every other worthy 

" Mr. Shebosh will be able to give you a particular account of the late horrid 
massacre perpetrated at the towns on Muskingum, by a set of men the most savage 
miscreants that ever degraded human nature. Had I have known of their intention 
before it was too late, I should have prevented it by informing the poor sufferers 
of it. 

" I am in hopes in a few days to be able to send you a more particular account 
than any that has yet transpired, as I hope to obtain the deposition of a person who 
was an eye-witness of the whole transaction, and disapproved of it. Should any 
accounts come to hand from Mr. Zeisberger, or the other gentlemen of your society, 
you may depend on my transmitting them to you. Please present my compliments 
to Mr. William Henry, Jr., &c. 

" Believe me, with esteem, your most obedient servant, 

" Col. 7th Virginia Reg t."] 




FTER the murder of the Conestogo Indians, the 
Lenni Lenape thought proper, for their safety, to 
withdraw altogether from the interior of the white 
settlements, into the wilds of the Susquehannah 
country ; and Government, conscious that they could no longer 
protect any Indians, or body of Indians, whether Christians or 
not, in the settled parts of the province, advised the Christian 
Indians, whom, during the last troubles, they had with difficulty 
prevented from sharing the fate of the Conestogos, to retire into 
the back country. They did so, and settled at Wyalusing, 1 which 
then became the nearest settlement of Indians to the white in 
habitants, being upwards of 150 miles north of Philadelphia, 
and about 100 miles from the frontier settlers beyond the blue 
mountains ; all the other Indians of that nation, together with 
the Nanticokes, lived then higher up the Susquehannah. For 
about five years, the Indians on this river enjoyed peace, and the 
Christian Indians lived quietly here and at another settlement 
they had made thirty miles higher, built good houses for them 
selves, together with a spacious church, planted fruit trees, and 
put large bodies of land under cultivation. But, while they 
were flattering themselves with the most favourable prospect, 
they were informed that the Six Nations had sold the whole 
country, including the land they lived on, to the English. 

1 [For a full account of this exodus, the reader is referred to a paper entitled 
"Wyalusing and the Moravian Mission at Friedenshutten," by W. C. Reichel, in 
Part 5 (1871) of the Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society.] 


They soon saw the object of this clandestine proceeding, of 
which they had not received the least notice, and foreseeing 
what kind of neighbours they should have, if they should stay 
where they were, they determined to move off in a body to the 
Ohio, where they had received an invitation to settle from the 
grand council of their nation. Accordingly, two hundred and 
forty-one souls set off directly for the Muskingum river, where a 
large tract of land was given them, out of that which the Wyan- 
dots had formerly granted and confirmed to their people ; the 
other Indians of the same nation residing on the Susquehannah 
soon followed, some settling at one place, some at another; the 
Mouseys, 1 however, joined their own tribe, who long since had 
emigrated and were settled on the headwaters of the Allegheny 
river ; and so the whole country east of the Allegheny moun 
tains was cleared of its original inhabitants. 

The Delawares thus became at once released from their 
troublesome neighbours the Iroquois, who had calculated on 
their settling near them, at a place they had already fixed upon ; 
but they were mistaken, for with all their fair speeches they 
could not persuade the Lenape, who gave them plainly to under 
stand that they were no longer inclined to listen to a people who 
had so long and so often deceived them. 

This happened in the year I/68, 2 about six years before the 
beginning of the revolutionary war. During which short period 
of tranquillity, the numbers of the Christian Indians on the Ohio 
rapidly increased, and never was there such a fair prospect of 
their being fixed in a state of prosperous civilisation. But the 
revolution put an end to these hopes, and this opportunity was 
lost, perhaps, never to return again. It was not the fault of the 
American government, who were truly desirous of seeing the 
Indians adopt a neutral line of conduct, and repeatedly advised 
them not to interfere in the quarrel between the colonies and 
the mother country ; happy would it have been if the British 
government had acted in the same manner; but they pursued a 
different plan. These poor deluded people were dragged into a 
war in which they had no concern, by which not only their 

1 For " Mouseys" read " Monseys." 

2 For " 1768, about six," read " 1772, a few." 


population was gradually reduced, but they lost the desire of 
becoming a civilised people ; for the Americans, at last, become 
exasperated against them, and considering all Indians as their 
enemies, they sent parties out from time to time to destroy 
them. The murder of the Christian Indians on the Muskinsrum 


in 1782, completed their alienation. Those who yet remained 
were driven to despair, and finally dispersed. 

It is not in my power to ascertain the whole number of the 
Lenni Lenape, or Delaware Indians, still existing at the present 
time. As far as I am informed, they are very much scattered, a 
number of them, chiefly of the Monsey tribe, living in Upper 
Canada, others are in the state of Ohio, and some on the waters 
of the Wabash in the Indiana territory. A considerable number 
of them has crossed the Mississippi. Their first emigrations to 
that country had already begun between the years 1780 and 
1790. What the numbers of this nation were when the Euro 
peans first came into this country is difficult to tell ; all I can say 
is, that so early as 1760, their oldest men would say that they 
were not then as many hundreds as they had been thousands. 
They have considerably decreased since that period. I saw them 
myself between the years 1754 and 1760, by hundreds at a time, 
and Loskiel in his history gives an account of upwards of 800 
having been fed at Bethlehem in one year. In the year 1762, 
while I lived at Tuscorawas on the Muskingum, they were 
settled on that river and its branches, and also on the Cayahoga 
river, which empties into Lake Erie, in the neighbourhood of 
which they had since a small Christian settlement called Pil- 
gerruh (Pilgrim s rest.) 1 2 

THE history of these people is here given, principally from 

1 Loskiel, part III., ch. 12. 

2 [Pilgerruh on the Cuyahoga, within the limits of what is now Independence 
township, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, was the seat of the mission during the time of the 
dispersion in the interval between May of 1786, and April of 1787.] 

3 General John Gibson thinks that Sawano is their proper name ; they are so called 
by the other Indian nations, from their being a southern people. Shawaneu, in the 
Lenape language, means the south; Shawanachau? the south wind, &c. We com 
monly call them the Shawanese. 

* For " Shawanackau " read " Shaivanachan." 


the relations of old Indians of the Mohican 1 tribe, who say that 
they formerly inhabited the Southern country, Savannah in 
Georgia, and the Floridas. They were a restless people, delight 
ing in wars, in which they were constantly engaged with some 
of the neighbouring nations. At last their neighbours, tired of 
being continually harassed by them, formed a league for their 
destruction. The Shawanos finding themselves thus danger 
ously situated, asked to be permitted to leave the country, which 
was granted to them, and they fled immediately to the Ohio. 
Here their main body settled, and sent messengers to their 
elder brother 2 the Mohicans, requesting them to intercede for 
them with their grandfather the Lenni Lenape, that he might 
take them under his protection. This the Mohicans willingly 
did, and even sent a body of their own people to conduct their 
younger brother into the country of the Delawares. The Shawa 
nos rinding themselves safe under the protection of their grand 
father, did not all choose to proceed farther to the eastward, but 
many of them remained on the Ohio, some of whom settled 
even as high up that river as the long island, above which the 
French afterwards built Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburg. Those 
who proceeded farther, were accompanied by their chief, named 
Gachgawatschiqua, and settled principally at and about the 
forks of Delaware, some few between that and the confluence 
of Delaware and Schuylkill, and some even on the spot where 
Philadelphia now stands ; others were conducted by the Mo 
hicans into their own country, where they intermarried with 
them and became one people. When those settled near the 
Delaware had multiplied, they returned to Wyoming on the 
Susquehannah, where they resided for a great number of years. 
In the mean while, those who had remained on the Ohio in 
creased in numbers, and in process of time began again to 
be troublesome to their neighbours. At last, they crossed the 
Allegheny mountains, and falling upon the camps of the Lenape 
on Juniata river, they committed several murders and went off 
with their plunder. It was soon discovered who were the 
aggressors; but the Lenape had now assumed the station of 

1 The Shawanos call the Mohicans their elder brother. 

2 Loskiel, part II., ch. 10. 


"the woman," and could not engage in wars. They could only 
apply for protection to the Five Nations, which they did, 
expecting that they would immediately pursue the offenders 
and inflict an exemplary punishment upon them, but the Five 
Nations found means to evade their demand for the present. 
They told the Delawares that the season was too far advanced 
to commence a war; that it was better to put off their intended 
expedition until the ensuing spring ; that in the mean time, both 
nations should put themselves in readiness, and keep their 
preparations secret, and that as soon as the season should open, 
they would march off separately and meet together at an 
appointed time and place on the Allegheny, then push on 
together for the Shawano towns below the confluence of that 
river and the Monongahela, where they could fall together 
unawares on the aggressors and punish them. The Iroquois 
promised, as usual, that they would place themselves in the 
front of the battle, so that the Delawares would have nothing to 
do but to look on and see how bravely their protectors would 
fight for them, and if they were not satisfied with that, they 
might take their revenge themselves. 

Agreeably to this plan, the Lenape remained quiet till the 
spring, when, with a body of their most valiant men, they 
marched to the appointed spot; but how great was their 
surprise when their pretended champions did not make their 
appearance? They suspected treachery, and were not mis 
taken ; for having immediately marched forward to the Shawano 
towns, bent on taking an exemplary revenge, they had the dis 
appointment to see on their arrival their enemies pushing off as 
fast as they could down the Ohio river in their canoes. Some 
of them were flying by land, as probably they had not a suffi 
cient number of canoes to convey their whole number ; these 
they pursued and attacked, beat them severely, and took several 
prisoners. Here they had a striking instance of the treachery 
of the Mengwe, who had warned the Shawanos of their ap 
proach. Some time after this, the Shawanos who resided on 
the north branch of the Susquehannah, began to draw off by 
degrees, first to the west branch of that river and the Juniata, 
and then to the Ohio : so that at the commencement of the 


French war in 1755, they had all, except a few families, with 
whom was their chief Paxnos, retired to the Ohio, where they 
joined their countrymen in a war against the English. 1 

Peace was made in 1763 between Great Britain and France; 
but the restless spirit of the Shawanos did not permit them to 
remain quiet; they commenced war 2 against their southern 
neighbours, the Cherokees, who, while in pursuit of the aggress 
ors, would sometimes through mistake fall upon the Lenape, 
who resided in the same country with the Shawanos, through 
whom they also became involved in a war with that nation, 
which lasted some time. The Mengwe being then also at war 
with the Cherokees, and frequently returning with their prison 
ers and scalps through their country, the warlike spirit was kept 
alive among all, until at length, in 1768, the Cherokees sought a 
renewal of the friendship formerly existing between them and 
their grandfather, the Lenape, which being effected, they, by 
their mediation, also brought about a peace between them and 
the Five Nations. 

The Shawanos not being disposed to continue the war with 
the Cherokees by themselves, and having been reprimanded by 
their grandfather for being the instigators of all those troubles, 
willingly submitted to the dictates of the Lenape, and from that 

1 While these people lived at Wyoming and in its vicinity, they were frequently 
visited by missionaries of the Society of the United Brethren, who, knowing them 
to be the most depraved and ferocious tribe of all the Indian nations they had heard 
of, sought to establish a friendship with them, so as not to be interrupted in their 
journies from one Indian Mission to another. Count Zinzendorf being at that time 
in the country, went in 1 742 with some other missionaries to visit them at Wyoming, 
stayed with them 20 days, and endeavoured to impress the gospel truths upon their 
minds; but these hardened people, suspecting his views, and believing that he 
wanted to purchase their land, on which it was reported there were mines of silver, 
conspired to murder him, and would have effected their purpose, but that Conrad 
\Veiser, the Indian interpreter, arrived fortunately in time to prevent it. (Loskiel, 
part II., ch. i.) Notwithstanding this, the Brethren frequently visited them, and 
Shehellemus, a chief of great influence, having become their friend (Loskiel, ibid, 
ch. 8), they could now travel with greater safety. He died at Shamokin in 1749; 
the Brethren were, however, fortunate enough to obtain the friendship of Paxnos cr 
Paxsinos, another chief of the Shawanos, who gave them full proof of it by sending 
his sons to escort one of them to Bethlehem from Shamokin, where he was in the 
most perilous situation, the war having just broke out. (Loskiel, ibid., ch. 12.) 

2 Loskiel, part I., ch. 10. 


time remained at peace with all the nations until the year 1774, 
when they were involved in a war with the people of Virginia, 
occasioned by some murders which were committed on Logan s 
family connexions and others by white people. In this instance 
it cannot, I think, be said that they were the aggressors, yet 
their thirst for revenge was so great, and the injured Mengwe at 
their side called out so loudly for revenge, that they with great 
spirit engaged into a war with the Virginians, which, however, 
was of but short duration, as they were opposed with an equal 
degree of courage, and after a severe battle between the two 
rivals, at or near the mouth of the Great Kanhawa, and the 
destruction of many of their towns by the Virginians, the 
Shawanos were brought to make peace once more; 1 which did 
not last long, as they joined the British against the American 
people, some time after the commencement of the Revolution, 
and remained our enemies after that time, never establishing a 
firm peace with us, until the memorable treaty which took place 
in 1795, after the decisive defeat of the nations by the late Gen 
eral Wayne. 

The Shawanos lost many of their men during these contests ; 
but they were in a manner replaced by individuals of other 
nations joining them. Thus, during the Revolutionary war, 
about one hundred turbulent Cherokees, who could not be 
brought by their own nation to be at peace with the American 
people, and were on that account driven out of their country, 
came over to the Shawanos, while others from the Five Nations 
joined them or became their neighbours. 

The Shawanos are considered to be good warriors and hunt- 

1 [After the peace of 1763 there was comparative quiet on the Western frontiers, 
until the inauguration of the " Dunmore War," in the spring of 1774 a contest 
which the last royal governor of Virginia is said to have excited, in order to divert 
the attention of the colonists from the oppressive acts of England towards them. 
The initial military movement in this war was Col. Angus McDonald s expedition 
against the Shawanese town of Waketameki, just below the mouth of the Waketa- 
meki Creek, within the limits of the present county of Muskingum, Ohio. The 
battle fought on the loth of October, 1774, at the junction of the Great Kanawha 
and the Ohio, between the garrison of Point Pleasant, under General Andrew Lewis, 
and the flower of the Shawanese, Delawares, Mingoes, and Wyandots, led by the 
Cornstalk, the Shawano king, in which the confederate Indians were routed, was 
speedily followed by a peace.] 


ers. They are courageous, high spirited and manly, and more 
careful in providing a supply of ammunition to keep in reserve 
for an emergency, than any other nation that I have heard of. 
Their language is more easily learned than that of the Lenape, 
and has a great affinity to the Mohican, Chippeway and other 
kindred languages. They generally place the accent on the last 


THE Delawares say that this nation has sprung from the same 
stock with them, and the fact was acknowledged by White, 1 one 
of their chiefs, whom I have personally known. They call the 
Delawares their grandfathers. I shall relate the history of the 
Shawanos, 2 as I had it from the mouth of White himself. 

Every Indian being at liberty to pursue what occupation he 
pleases, White s ancestors, after the Lenape came into their 
country, preferred seeking a livelihood by fishing and trapping 
along the rivers and bays, to pursuing wild game in the forest ; 
they therefore detached themselves, and sought the most conve 
nient places for their purpose. In process of time, they became 
very numerous, partly by natural increase, and partly in conse 
quence of being joined by a number of the Lenape, and spread 
themselves over a large tract of country. Thus they became 
divided into separate bodies, distinguished by different names ; 
the Canai, they say, sprung from them, and settled at a distance 
on the shores of the Potomack and Susquehannah; where they 
lived when the white people first arrived in Virginia ; but they 
removed farther on their account, and settled higher up the Sus 
quehannah, not far from where John Harris afterwards estab 
lished a ferry. 3 The main branch, or the Nanticokes proper, 
were then living in what is now called the Eastern shore of 

1 See, in Loskiel s History, part II., ch. 10, his account of the visit of this chief to 
the Christian Indian Congregation at Bethlehem. 

2 For " Shawanos" read " Nanticokes ." 

8 [In 1726, John Harris, a Yorkshireman, settled at the mouth of the Paxton 
Creek, traded largely with the neighboring Indians, cleared a farm, and kept a ferry. 
John Harris, Jr., his son, born on the Paxton in the above-mentioned year, inherited 
from his father 700 acres of land, on a part of which Harrisburg was laid out in 
I 7 8 5 .] 


Maryland. At length, the white people crowded so much upon 
them, that they were also obliged to seek another abode, and as 
their grandfather was himself retreating back in consequence of 
the great influx of the whites, they took the advice of the 
Mengwe, and bent their course at once to the large flats at Wyo 
ming, where they settled by themselves, in sight of the Shaw- 
anos town, while others settled higher up the river, even as high 
as Chemenk 1 (Shenango) and Shummunk, to which places they 
all emigrated at the beginning of the French war. White s tribe 
resided there until the Revolutionary war, when they went off 
to a place nearer to the British, whose part they had taken, and 
whose standard they joined. White himself had joined the 
Christian Indians at Schschequon, 2 several years previous to the 
war, and remained with them. 

Nothing, said White, had equalled the decline of his tribe 
since the white people had come into the country. They were 
destroyed in part by disorders which they brought with them, 
by the small pox, the venereal disease, and by the free use of 
spirituous liquors, to which great numbers fell victims. 

The emigration of the Nanticokes from Maryland was well 
known to the Society of the United Brethren. At the time when 
these people were beginning their settlement in the forks of 
Delaware, the Rev. Christian 3 Pyrlseus noted down in his mem 
orandum book, "that on the 2ist day of May, 1748, a number 
of the Nanticokes from Maryland, passed by Shamokin in ten 
canoes, on their way to Wyoming." Others, travelling by land, 
would frequently pass through Bethlehem, and from thence 
through the Water Gap to Nescopeck or Susquehannah, and 
while they resided at Wyoming, they, together with the Shaw- 
anese, became the emissaries of the Five Nations, and in con 
junction with them afterwards, endeavoured to remove the 
Christian Indians from Gnadenhiitten, in Northampton county, 
to Wyoming ; their private object being to have a full oppor 
tunity to murder the white inhabitants, in the war which they 
already knew would soon break out between the French and 

1 Zeningi, according to Loskiel. 

2 For "Schschequon " read " Skechschequon" 
8 [For "Christian" read "Christopher."] 


These Nanticokes had the singular custom of removing the 
bones of their deceased friends from the burial place to a place 
of deposit in the country they dwell in. In earlier times, they 
were known to go from Wyoming and Chemenk, to fetch the 
bones of their dead from the Eastern shore of Maryland, even 
when the bodies were in a putrid state, so that they had to take 
off the flesh and scrape the bones clean, before they could carry 
them along. I well remember having seen them between the 
years 1750 and 1760, loaded with such bones, which, being fresh, 
caused a disagreeable stench, as they passed through the town 
of Bethlehem. 

They are also said to have been the inventors of a poisonous 
substance, by which they could destroy a whole settlement of 
people, and they are accused of being skilled in the arts of 
witchcraft ; it is certain that they are very much dreaded on this 
account. I have known Indians who firmly believed that they 
had people among them who could, if they pleased, destroy a 
whole army, by merely blowing their breath towards them. 
Those of the Lenape l and other tribes, who pretend to witch 
craft, say that they learned the science from the Nanticokes ; 
they are not unwilling to be taxed with being wizards, as it 
makes them feared by their neighbours. 

Their national name, according to the report of their chief, 
White, is Nentego. The Delawares call them Unechtgo, and the 
Iroquois Sganiateratieh-rohne. These three names have the 
same meaning, and signify tide water people, or the sea shore set 
tlers. They have besides other names, by-names, as it were, 
given them with reference to their occupation. The Mohi 
cans, for instance, call them Otaydchgo, and the Delawares Ta- 
wachgu&no* both which words in their respective languages, 
signify a " bridge," a " dry passage over a stream ;" which al 
ludes to their being noted for felling great numbers of trees 
across streams, to set their traps on. They are also often called 
the Trappers. 

In the year 1785, this tribe had so dwindled away, that their 
whole body, who came together to see their old chief, White, 

Loskiel, part I., ch. 9. 

For "TawacJtgu&no" read "Tayachgu&no. 


then residing with the Christian Indians on the Huron river, 1 
north of Detroit, did not amount to 50 men. They were then 
going through Canada, to the Miami country, to settle beside 
the Shawanos, in consequence of an invitation they had received 
from them. 


THIS once great and renowned nation has also almost entirely 
disappeared, as well as the numerous tribes who had descended 
from them ; they have been destroyed by wars, and carried off by 
the small pox and other disorders, and great numbers have died 
in consequence of the introduction of spirituous liquors among 
them. The remainder have fled and removed in separate bodies 
to different parts, where they now are dispersed or mingled with 
other nations. So early as the year 1762, a number of them 
had emigrated to the Ohio, where I became acquainted with 
their chief who was called by the whites " Mohican John." 
Others have fled to the shores of the St. Lawrence, where num 
bers of them incorporated themselves with the Iroquois, and 
where their descendants live at the present time, a mixed race, 
known by the name of the Cochneivago Indians. Upwards of 
one hundred of them, who lived in the colonies of Connecti 
cut and New York, having through the labours of the United 
Brethren embraced Christianity, emigrated to Pennsylvania, 
some time between 1742 and 1760, where they afterwards be 
came incorporated with the Delawares. 2 A considerable num 
ber migrated from Hudson s river about the year 1734, and 
settled at Stockbridge, in Massachusetts; between the year 1785 
and 1787, they removed to Oneida, in the country of the Six 
Nations, and gave to their settlement the name of New Stock- 
bridge. Before their removal their numbers had gradually 
diminished. In 1791, they were reduced to 191 persons. 3 They 

1 [Now the Clinton, on whose banks New Gnadenhutten was built by David Zeis- 
berger in the summer of 1782.] 

2 [The first mission established by the Moravians among the northern tribes of 
Indians, was among a clan of Mohegans, in the town of Pine Plains, Dutchess 
County, New York, where Christian Henry Rauch, of Bethlehem, began his labors as 
an evangelist in July of 1740.] 

3 Collections Massach. Histor. Soc., vol. I., p. 195; vol. IV., p. 67; vol. IX., p. 92. 


were once very numerous in Connecticut, and in the year 1799, 
there still were 84 individuals of them, in the county of New 
London, 1 the remains of a once large and flourishing settlement 
It is probable that by this time they are nearly if not entirely 

It is believed that the Mahicanni are the same nation who are 
so celebrated in the History of New England, under the name 
of Pequods or Pequots? The Rev. Jonathan Edwards, late Presi 
dent of Union College at Schenectady, in the State of New 
York, published in the year 1788 in a pamphlet form, some 
observations on their language, which were republished at New 
York in 1801. This small tract, as well as the translation of the 
Bible into the Natick, by the venerable Eliot, and his grammar 
of that language, put it beyond a doubt that the idiom of the 
Mohicans and those of the other New England Indians pro 
ceeded from the same source with that of the Lenni Lenape. 

1 Collections Massach. Histor. Soc., vol. IX., p. 76. 

2 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., vol. IX., p. 77. Trumbull s History of Connecticut, vol. 
I., p. 28. 



HE most intelligent and credible Indians of the Len- 
ape stock, including the Mohicans, have ever asserted, 
that in the whole country bounded on the north by 
the river St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes (including 
what is now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), on the west by 
the Mississippi, on the east by the Great Salt-water Lake, 1 and 
on the south by the country of the Creeks, Cherokees, and other 
Florida Indians, there were but two nations, the Mengwe, and 
themselves. Theirs was by far the most numerous and the most 
extensively settled, for their tribes extended even beyond the 
Mississippi. On the other side of the St. Lawrence, tlie Algon- 
quins, the Killistenos or Knisteneaux, and others, speaking dia 
lects of their language, prove their origin from the same stock. 
The Mengwe, on the contrary, were comparatively few, and 
occupied a much less portion of territory, being almost con 
fined to the vicinity of the great lakes. But few tribes are 
known to be connected with them by descent and language ; 
the principal ones are the Wyandots, otherwise called Hurons, 
and the Naudowessies. Almost every other nation within the 
boundaries described, is of the Lenape family. 

Each of these two great nations, say the Delawares, had an 
ancient national name, and a tradition of their respective origin, 
handed down to them by their ancestors, and diffused among all 
the kindred tribes. By whatsoever names those tribes might be 
called, and whatever their numbers were, still they considered 

1 The Atlantic Ocean. 



themselves, and were considered by others, as the offspring of 
the same original stock. All the tribes who had sprung from 
the Lenape called the mother nation grandfather, and received, 
in return, the appellation of grandchildren. They were all united 
by the strongest ties of friendship and alliance ; in their own 
expressive language, they made but one house, one fire, and one 
canoe, that is to say, that they constituted together, one people, 
one family. The same thing took place between the Mengwe 
and the tribes descended from them. They and the Lenape had 
no relationship with each other, though they came over the Mis 
sissippi together at the same time. They considered each other 
as nations entirely distinct. 

The Mengwe or Iroquois were always considered by the 
Lenape as only one nation, consisting of several confederated 
tribes. The name of Five and afterwards Six Nations, was given 
to them by the English, whose allies they were, probably to 
raise their consequence, and magnify the idea of their strength ; 
but the Indian nations never did flatter them with that high 
sounding appellation, and considered them merely as confed 
erated tribes. 

The late Rev. Mr. Pyrlseus, in a large volume of MS. notes 
which he wrote between the years 1/40 and 1760 (upwards of 
70 years ago), has taken down on this subject the account given 
by the Iroquois themselves, as he had it from the mouth of an 
intelligent Mohawk chief, 1 whose veracity might be depended 
upon. After giving some details respecting the origin of their 
confederation, the time about which it took place, the names of 
the delegates from each of the confederated tribes, &c., he pro 
ceeds thus : " They then gave themselves the name Aquano- 
shioni, which means one house, one family, and consisted of the 
Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagoes, Cayugas, and Senecas. This 
alliance having been first proposed by a Mohawk chief, the 
Mohawks rank in thefamify as the eldest brother, the Oneidas, as 
the eldest son ; the Senecas, who were the last who at that time 
had consented to the alliance, were called the youngest son ; but 
the Tuscaroras, who joined the confederacy probably one hun- 

1 P- 235. This MS. is in the library of the Society of the United Brethren at 


dred years afterwards, assumed that name, and the Senecas 
ranked in precedence before them, as being the next youngest 
son, or as we would say, the youngest son but one." 

The Rev. David Zeisberger also says : " That the Iroquois 
call themselves Aquanosckioni, which means united people, having 
united for the purpose of always reminding each other that 
their safety and power consist in a mutual and strict adherence 
to their alliance." 1 He adds, that Onondago is the chief town 
of the Iroquois. 

Thus, in the different translations of the name which these 
people gave themselves, we find nothing that conveys the ideas 
of nations, it implies no more than a family, an united people, a 
family compact. The different sections take ranks in this family, 
of which the Onondagoes are the head, while the others are 
brothers and sons ; all which tends clearly to prove, that they 
were originally but tribes, detached bodies of the same people, 
who, when brought together in close union, formed a complete 
family and became entitled to the name of a NATION. 

We also see that self-preservation was the cause of their 
uniting, and that they were compelled by necessity to this meas 
ure, on which their existence depended. And though we have 
a right to suppose that that tribe which always takes the lead in 
the government of an Indian nation (the Turtle tribe), existed 
among them, yet it is evident that its authority at that time was 
either wholly disregarded, or at least, was too weak to give 
complete efficacy to its measures. 

If, then, we believe the information given us by both Pyrlaeus 
and Zeisberger to be correct, we must be fully convinced that 
the Iroquois confederacy did not consist of Five or Six Nations, 
but of as many tribes or sections of the same people, forming 
together one nation. These two Missionaries are known to 
have been men of the strictest veracity ; they were both, I may 
say, critically acquainted 2 with the Mengwe idiom, and they had 

1 Loskiel, part II., ch. 9. 

2 Mr. Zeisberger wrote a complete dictionary of the Iroquois language, in three 
quarto volumes, the first of which, from A to the middle of H, is unfortunately 
lost. The remainder, which is preserved, contains upwards of 800 pages, which 



their information from the most respectable and intelligent men 
among that nation, the former from the Mohawk, the latter from 
the Onondaga tribe. There is no reason, therefore, why the 
truth of their statements should be doubted. 

The Lenape and their kindred tribes never have called the 
Iroquois " the Five or Six Nations." In conversation, they call 
them the Mengwe, and never make use of any other but this 
generic name when speaking of them. In their councils, how 
ever, they occasionally distinguished them by the name Palenach 
cndchiesktajeet} These two words, literally translated mean "the 
five divisions, sections or parts together," and does not in any 
manner imply the idea of nations. Had they meant to say " the 
Five Nations," they would have expressed it by the words Pale 
nach ekliokeiuit ; those which they used, on the contrary, ex 
pressly imply sectional divisions, and leave no doubt about their 

The Iroquois themselves, as we have already seen, had adopted 
a name, Aquanoschioni, merely indicative of their close union. 
After, however, they came to be informed of the meaning of the 
name which the English had given them, they were willing to 
let it pass as correct. The Indians are very fond of high sound 
ing names ; I have known myself chiefs who delighted to be 
called Kings, after they had learned from us that the rulers of 
the English and French nations were distinguished by that title. 

Thus the proper name of those six united tribes is in their 
own language Aquanoschioni. By other nations they are called 
Mengwe, Maquas, Mingoes, and Iroquois. The Lenape call them 
by the first, the Mohicans and Dutch by the second, the English 
and Americans by the third, and the French by the fourth. I 
employ these different names indiscriminately in the course of 
this work. 

shews that, at least, the Indian languages are not so poor as is generally imagined. 
It is German and Indian, beginning with the German.* 

* [This work, entitled " Deutch und Onondagaishes Wdrterbuch," i. e. t Lexicon of the German 
and Onondaga Languages, complete in 7 vols., MS., is deposited in the Library of the American 
Philosophical Society, at Philadelphia. Also a complete grammar of the Onondaga by the same 

1 This word should be pronounced according to the powers of the German Al 


As detached bodies or tribes, their names with the Lenape 
are the following : 

1. Sankkicani, the Mohawks, from Sankhican, a gunlock, this 
people being the first who were furnished with muskets by the 
Europeans, the locks of which, with their effect in striking fire, 
-,vas a subject of great astonishment to them ; and thus they 
were named, as it were, the fire-striking people. 

2. WTdssone, the Oneidas. This name means the stone-pipe 
makers, and was given to them on account of their ingenuity in 
making tobacco pipes of stone. 

3. Ononddgoes, the Onondagoes. This name signifies in their 
own language on the top of the hill, their town being so situated. 

4. Queugw, Cayugas, thus called after a lake of the same 

5. Mczchachtinni, the Senecas. This name means Mountaineers, 
and was given them because they inhabited the hilly parts of the 

6. The Tuscaroras, the sixth and last tribe in the league, 
they call by the same name, yet I have never heard the Lenape 
speak of the six divisions or tribes ; when they describe them in 
that manner, it is always by the number Five. 



[HE Indian considers himself as a being created by an 
all-powerful, wise, and benevolent Mannitto ; T all that 
he possesses, all that he enjoys, he looks upon as 
given to him or allotted for his use by the Great 
Spirit who gave him life : he therefore believes it to be his duty 
to adore and worship his Creator and benefactor ; to acknow 
ledge with gratitude his past favours, thank him for present 
blessings, and solicit the continuation of his good will. 2 

As beings who have control over all beasts and living crea 
tures, they feel their importance; before they saw white people 
or men of a different colour from their own, they considered 
themselves as God s favourites, and believed that if the Great 
Mannitto could reside on earth he would associate with them 
and be their great chief. 

The Indian also believes, that he is highly favoured by his 
Maker, not only in having been created different in shape and 
in mental and bodily powers from other animals, but in being 
enabled to controul and master them all, even those of an enor 
mous size and of the most ferocious kinds; and therefore, when 
he worships his Creator in his way, he does not omit in his 
supplications to pray that he may be endowed with courage to 

1 Being, or Spirit. 

2 An old Indian told me about fifty years ago, that when he was young, he still 
followed the custom of his father and ancestors, in climbing upon a high mountain or 
pinnacle, to thank the Great Spirit for all the benefits before bestowed, and to pray 
for a continuance of his favour; that they were sure their prayers were heard, and 
acceptable to the Great Spirit, although he did not himself appear to them. 



fight and conquer his enemies, among whom he includes all 
savage beasts ; and when he has performed some heroic act, he 
will not forget to acknowledge it as a mark of divine favour, by 
making a sacrifice to the great and good Mannitto, or by pub 
licly announcing that his success was entirely owing to the 
courage given him by the all-powerful Spirit. Thus, habitual 
devotion to the great First Cause, and a strong feeling of grati 
tude for the benefits which he confers, is one of the prominent 
traits which characterise the mind of the untutored Indian. 

Not satisfied with paying this first of duties to the Lord of all, 
in the best manner they are able, the Indians also endeavour to 
fulfil the views which they suppose he had in creating the world. 
They think that he made the earth and all that it contains for 
the common good of mankind ; when he stocked the country 
that he gave them with plenty of game, it was not for the benefit 
of a few, but of all. Every thing was given in common to the 
sons of men. Whatever liveth on the land, whatsoever groweth 
out of the earth, and all that is in the rivers and waters flowing 
through the same, was given jointly to all, and every one is 
entitled to his share. From this principle, hospitality flows as 
from its source. With them it is not a virtue but a strict duty. 
Hence they are never in search of excuses to avoid giving, but 
freely supply their neighbour s wants from the stock prepared 
for their own use. They give and are hospitable to all, without 
exception, and will always share with each other and often with 
the stranger, even to their last morsel. They rather would lie 
down themselves on an empty stomach, than have it laid to 
their charge that they had neglected their duty, by not satisfy 
ing the wants of the stranger, the sick or the needy. The 
stranger has a claim to their hospitality, partly on account of 
his being at a distance from his family and friends, and partly 
because he has honoured them by his visit, and ought to leave 
them with a good impression upon his mind ; the sick and the 
poor because they have a right to be helped out of the common 
stock : for if the meat they have been served with, was taken 
from the woods, it was common to all before the hunter took it ; 
if corn or vegetables, it had grown out of the common ground, 
yet not by the power of man, but by that of the Great Spirit. 
Besides, on the principle, that all are descended from one parent, 


they look upon themselves as but one great family, who there 
fore ought at all times and on all occasions, to be serviceable 
and kind to each other, and by that means make themselves 
acceptable to the head of the universal family, the great and 
good Mannitto. Let me be permitted to illustrate this by an 

Some travelling Indians having in the year 1777, put their 
horses over night to pasture in my little meadow, at Gnaden- 
hiitten on the Muskingum, I called on them in the morning to 
learn why they had done so. I endeavoured to make them 
sensible of the injury they had done me, especially as I intended 
to mow the meadow in a day or two. Having finished my 
complaint, one of them replied : " My friend, it seems you lay 
claim to the grass my horses have eaten, because you had 
enclosed it with a fence : now tell me, who caused the grass to 
grow? Can you make the grass grow? I think not, and no 
body can except the great Mannitto. He it is who causes it to 
grow both for my horses and for yours ! See, friend ! the grass 
which grows out of the earth is common to all ; the game in the 
woods is common to all. Say, did you never eat venison and 
bear s meat ? Yes, very often. Well, and did you ever hear 
me or any other Indian complain about that ? No ; then be not 
disturbed at my horses having eaten only once, of what you call 
your grass, though the grass my horses did eat, in like manner 
as the meat you did eat, was given to the Indians by the Great 
Spirit. Besides, if you will but consider, you will find that my 
horses did not eat all your grass. For friendship s sake, how 
ever, I shall never put my horses in your meadow again." 

The Indians are not only just, they are also in many respects 
a generous people, and cannot see the sick and the aged suffer for 
want of clothing. To such they will give a blanket, a shirt, a pair 
of leggings, mocksens, &c. Otherwise, when they make pres 
ents, it is done with a view to receive an equivalent in return, and 
the receiver is given to understand what that ought to be. In 
making presents to strangers, they are content with some trifle 
in token of remembrance ; but when they give any thing to a 
trader, they at least expect double the value in return, saying that 
he can afford to do it, since he had cheated them so often. 

They treat each other with civility, and shew much affection 


on meeting after an absence. When they meet in the forenoon, 
they will compliment one another with saying, " a good morn 
ing to you ! " and in the afternoon, " a good evening." In the 
act of shaking hands with each other, they strictly attend to the 
distinguishing names of relations, which they utter at the time ; 
as for instance, " a good morning, father, grandfather, uncle, 
aunt, cousin," and so down to a small grandchild. They are 
also in the habit of saluting old people no ways related to them, 
by the names of grandfather and grandmother, not in a tone of 
condescending superiority or disguised contempt, but as a genu 
ine mark of the respect which they feel for age. The common 
way of saluting where no relationship exists, is that of " friend ; " 
when, however, the young people meet, they make use of words 
suitable to their years or sfage in life ; they will say " a good 
morning, comrade, favourite, beloved, &c." Even the children 
salute each other affectionately. " I am glad to see you," is the 
common way in which the Indians express themselves to one 
another after a short absence ; but on meeting after a long ab 
sence, on the return of a messenger or a warrior from a critical 
or dangerous expedition, they have more to say ; the former is 
saluted in the most cordial manner with some such expression : 
" I thank the Great Spirit, that he has preserved our lives to this 
time of our happily meeting again. I am, indeed, very glad to 
see you." To which the other will reply : " you speak the 
truth ; it is through the favour of the great and good Spirit that 
we are permitted to meet. I am equally glad to see you." To 
the latter will be said : " I am glad that the Great Spirit has pre 
served your life and granted you a safe return to your family." 

They are not quarrelsome, and are always on their guard, so 
as not to offend each other. When one supposes himself hurt 
or aggrieved by a word which has inadvertently fallen from the 
mouth of another, he will say to him : " Friend, you have caused 
me to become jealous of you," (meaning that he begins to doubt 
the sincerity of his friendship,) when the other explaining and 
saying that he had no bad intention, all is done away again. 

They do not fight with each other ; they say that fighting is 
only for dogs and beasts. They are, however, fond of play, and 
passing a joke, yet very careful that they do not offend. 

They are ingenious in making satirical observations, which 


though they create laughter, do not, or but seldom give offence. 
For instance, seeing a bad hunter going out into the woods 
with his gun, they will ask him if he is going out for meat? or 
say to one another : " now we shall have meat, for such a one is 
gone a hunting," (not believing any such thing.) If they see a 
coward joining a war party, they will ask him ironically at what 
time he intends to come back again ? (knowing that he will re 
turn before he has met the enemy,) or they will say to one 
another: "will he return this way with his scalps?" 

Genuine wit, which one would hardly expect to find in a sav 
age people, is not unfrequent among them. I have heard them, 
for instance, compare the English and American nations to a 
pair of scissors, an instrument composed of two sharp edged 
knives exactly alike, working against each other for the same 
purpose, that of cutting. By the construction of this instrument, 
they said, it would appear as if in shutting, these two sharp 
knives would strike together and destroy each other s edges ; 
but no such thing : they only cut what comes between them. And 
thus the English and Americans do when they go to war against 
one another. It is not each other that they want to destroy, 
but us, poor Indians, that are between them. By this means 
they get our land, and, when that is obtained, the scissors are 
closed again, and laid, by for further use. 

They are remarkable for the particular respect which they 
pay to old age. In all their meetings, whether public or pri 
vate, they pay the greatest attention to the observations and 
advice of the aged; no one will attempt to contradict them, nor 
to interfere in any manner or even to speak, unless he is spec 
ially called upon. " The aged," they say, " have lived through 
the whole period of our lives, and long before we were born ; 
they have not only all the knowledge we possess, but a great 
deal more. We, therefore, must submit our limited views to 
their experience." 

In travelling, one of the oldest will always take the lead, un 
less another is specially appointed for that purpose. If such a 
one stops to hunt, or in order to stay and encamp at the place 
for some time, all halt together, all are pleased with the spot 
and declare it to be judiciously chosen. 


I shall expatiate further on this interesting part of the Indian 
character, in the sequel of this work. 

They have a strong innate sense of justice, which will lead 
them sometimes to acts which some men will call heroic, others 
romantic, and not a few, perhaps, will designate by the epithet 
barbarous ; a vague indefinite word, which if it means anything, 
might, perhaps, be best explained by something not like ourselves. 
However that may be, this feeling certainly exists among the 
Indians, and as I cannot describe it better than by its effects, I 
shall content myself with relating on this subject a characteristic 
anecdote which happened in the year 1/93, at an Indian village 
called La Chine, situated nine miles above Montreal, and was 
fold me in the same year by Mr. La Ramee, a French Canadian 
inhabitant of that place, whom I believe to be a person of strict 
veracity. I was then on my return from Detroit, in company 
with General Lincoln and several other gentlemen, who were 
present at the relation, and gave it their full belief. I thought it 
then so interesting, that I inserted it in my journal, from which 
I now extract it. 

There were in the said village of La Chine two remarkable 
Indians, the one for his stature, being six feet four inches in 
height, and the other for his strength and activity. These two 
meeting together one day in the street, (a third being present,) 
the former in a high tone made use of some insulting language 
to the other, which he could not well put up with : he called 
him a coward, said he was his inferior in every respect, and so 
provoked his anger, that unable any longer to contain himself, 
the latter instantly replied : " You have grossly insulted me ; but 
I will prevent you from doing the like again ! " and at the same 
moment stabbed him through the body with his knife, so that 
he dropped down dead by his side. The alarm being imme 
diately spread through the village, a crowd of Indians assembled, 
and the murderer having seated himself on the ground by the 
side of the dead body, coolly awaited his fate, which he could 
not expect to be any other than immediate death, particularly as 
the cry of the people was, " Kill him ! Kill him ! " But although 
he placed his body and head in a proper posture to receive the 
stroke of the tomahawk, no one attempted to lay hands on him ; 
but after removing the dead body from where it lay, they left 


him alone. Not meeting here with his expected fate, he rose 
from this place for a more public part of the village, and there 
lay down on the ground in the hope of being the sooner des 
patched ; but the spectators, after viewing him, all retired again. 
Sensible that his life was justly forfeited, and anxious to be 
relieved from a state of suspense, he took the resolution to go 
to the mother of the deceased, an aged widow, whom he ad 
dressed in these words : " Woman, I have killed thy son ; he 
had insulted me, it is true ; but still he was thine, and his life 
was valuable to thee. I, therefore, now surrender myself up to 
thy will. Direct as thou wilt have it, and relieve me speedily 
from misery." To which the woman answered : " Thou hast, 
indeed, killed my son, who was dear to me, and the only 
supporter I had in my old age. One life is already lost, 
and to take thine on that account, cannot be of any ser 
vice to me, nor better my situation. Thou hast, however, 
a son, whom, if thou wilt give me in the place of my son, 
whom thou hast slain, all shall be wiped away." The mur 
derer then replied : " Mother, my son is yet but a child, ten 
years old, and can be of no service to thee, but rather a trouble 
and charge; but here am I, truly capable of supporting and 
maintaining thee : if thou wilt receive me as thy son, nothing 
shall be wanting on my part to make thee comfortable while 
thou livest." The woman approving of the proposal, forthwith 
adopted him as her son, and took the whole family to her house. 
But we must now look to the other side of the picture. It 
cannot but be acknowledged that the Indians are in general 
revengeful and cruel to their enemies. That even after the bat 
tle is over, they wreak their deliberate revenge on their defence 
less prisoners ; that in their wars they are indifferent about the 
means which they pursue for the annoyance and destruction of 
their adversaries, and that surprise and stratagem are as often 
employed by them as open force. This is all true. Deprived 
of the light of the only true Christian Religion, unchecked by 
the precepts and unswayed by the example of the God of peace, 
they indulge too much, sometimes, the violence of their passions, 
and commit actions which force the tear from the eye of human 
ity. But, upon the whole, are we better than they are? I 
reserve this question for a separate chapter. 



LTHOUGH the Indians have no code of laws for 
their government, their chiefs find little or no diffi 
culty in governing them. They are supported by able 
experienced counsellors ; men who study the welfare 
of the nation, and are equally interested with themselves in its 
prosperity. On them the people rely entirely, believing that 
what they do, or determine upon, must be right and for the 
public good. 

Proud of seeing such able men conduct the affairs of their 
nation, the Indians are little troubled about what they are doing, 
knowing that the result of their deliberations will be made 
public in due time, and sure that it will receive their approbation. 
This result is made known to them by the chief through the 
orator, for which purpose they are called together and assemble 
at the council-house ; and if it be found necessary to require a 
contribution of wampum, for carrying the decision of the chiefs 
into effect, it is cheerfully complied with by the whole assembly. 

The chiefs are very careful in preserving for their own infor 
mation, and that of future generations, all important deliberations 
and treaties made at any time between them and other nations. 
Thus, between the years 1770 and 1780, they could relate very 
minutely what had passed between William Penn and their fore 
fathers, at their first meeting and afterwards, and also the trans 
actions which took place with the governors who succeeded 
him. For the purpose of refreshing their own memories, and 
of instructing one or more of their most capable and promising 



young men in these matters, they assemble once or twice a 
year. On these occasions they always meet at a chosen spot 
in the woods, at a small distance from the town, where a fire 
is kindled, and at the proper time provisions are brought out to 
them ; there, on a large piece of bark or on a blanket, all the 
documents are laid out in such order, that they can at once dis 
tinguish each particular speech, the same as we know the prin 
cipal contents of an instrument of writing by the endorsement 
on it. If any paper or parchment writings are connected with 
the belts, or strings of wampum, they apply to some trusty white 
man (if such can be had,) to read the contents to them. Their 
speaker then, who is always chosen from among those who are 
endowed with superior talents, and has already been trained up 
to the business, rises, and in an audible voice delivers, with the 
gravity that the subject requires, the contents, sentence after sen 
tence, until he has finished the whole on one subject. On the 
manner in which the belts or strings of wampum are handled 
by the speaker, much depends ; the turning^ of the belt which 
takes place when he has finished one half of his speech, is a 
material point, though this is not common in all speeches with 
belts ; but when it is the case, and is done properly, it may be 
as well known by it how far the speaker has advanced in his 
speech, as with us on taking a glance at the pages of a book or 
pamphlet while reading ; and a good speaker will be able to 
point out the exact place on a belt which is to answer to each 
particular sentence, the same as we can point out a passage in a 
book. Belts and strings, when done with by the speaker, are 
again handed to the chief, who puts them up carefully in the 
speech-bag or pouch. 

A message of importance is generally sent on to the place of 
its destination, by an inferior chief, by a counsellor, or by the 
speaker, especially when an immediate answer is expected. In 

1 When, between the years 1760 and 1768, the noted war-chief Fontiac had con 
certed a plan of surprising and cutting off the garrison and town of Detroit, while in 
the act of delivering an impressive peace oration, to the then commandant Major 
Gladwyn, the turning of the belt was to have been the signal of the attack by his 
forces, who all had their guns, which previously had been cut off to large pistol 
length, hidden under their blankets. So I have been informed by some of the most 
respectable inhabitants of Detroit, and by the Indians themselves. 


other cases, where for instance only an answer to a speech is to 
be sent, two capable young men are selected for the purpose, the 
one to deliver the message or answer, and the other to pay 
attention while his companion is delivering it, that no part be 
forgotten or omitted. If the message be of a private nature, 
they are charged to draw or take it under ground, that is, not to 
make it known to any person whatsoever, except to him to / 
whom it is directed. If they are told to enter into the earth with / 
the message or speech, and rise again at the place where they 
are to deliver it, it is to desire them to be careful not to be seen 
by the way by any person, and for that purpose to avoid all 
paths, and travel through the woods. 

No chief pays any attention to reports, though they may carry 
with them the marks of truth. Until he is officially and in due 
form apprised of the matter, he will, if questioned on^ the subject, 
reply. that he had not heard it. It will, until then, *6"e considered 
by him as the song of a bird which had flown by ; but as soon as 
he is officially informed, through a string of wampum from some 
distant chief or leading mari" of the nation, whose situation 
entitles him to receive credit, he then will say : " I have heard 
it; " and acts accordingly. 

The Indians generally, but their chiefs more particularly, have 
many figurative expressions in use, to understand which requires 
instruction. When a nation, by message or otherwise, speaks to 
another nation in this way, it is well understood ; but when they 
speak to white people after this manner, who have not been 
accustomed to such language, explanations are necessary. 

Their belts of wampum are of different dimensions, both as to 
the length and breadth. White and black wampum are the 
kinds they use; the former denoting that which is good, as 
peace, friendship, good will, &c., the latter the reverse; yet 
occasionally the black also is made use of on peace errands, 
when the white cannot be procured ; but previous to its being 
produced for such purpose, it must be daubed all over with 
chalk, white clay, or any thing which changes the colour from 
black to white. The pipe of peace, being either made of a 
black or red stone, must also be whitened before it is produced 
and smoked out of on such occasions. 


Roads from one friendly nation to another, are generally 
marked on the belt, by one or two rows of white wampum inter 
woven in the black, and running through the middle, and from 
end to end. It means that they are on good terms, and keep up 
a friendly intercourse with each other. 

A black belt with the mark of a hatchet made on it with red 
paint, is a war belt, which, when sent to a nation together with a 
twist or roll of tobacco, is an invitation to join in a war. If the 
nation so invited smoke of this tobacco, and say it smokes well, 
they have given their consent, and are from that moment allies. 
If however they decline smoking, all further persuasion would 
be of no effect; yet it once 1 happened, that war messengers 
endeavoured to persuade and compel a nation to accept the 
belt, by laying it on the shoulders or thigh of the chief, who, 
however, after shaking it off without touching it with his hands, 
afterwards, with a stick, threw it after them, as if he threw a 
snake or toad out of his way. 

Although at their councils they do not seat themselves after 
the manner of the white people, yet the attitude they place 
themselves in is not chargeable to them as a want of respect. 
Faithful to the trust committed to them, they are careless of 
ceremonies, from which the nation cannot derive any benefit. 
They seat themselves promiscuously around a council fire, some 
leaning one way, some another, so that a stranger on viewing 
them, might be led to conclude they were inattentive to what 
was sa id, or had become tired of attending. Not so ! even 
sitting in this posture gives them the opportunity of being 
intent on what is said, and attentive to the subject under their 
consideration. They have no object to look at, which might 
draw off their attention. They are all ears, though they do 
not stare at the speaker ! The fact is, that nothing can draw 
their attention from the subject they are deliberating on, unless 
the house they are sitting in should take fire or be attacked by 
an enemy. 

To prove the correctness of the above assertion, I shall relate 
the following fact, which happened at Detroit in the winter of 
1785 and 1786. 

1 For "once" read " sometimes" 


When two most audacious murderers of the Chippeway nation, 
who, for many months, had put the town and whole country in 
fear, by the threats and the daring murders they had committed 
in the settlement, were taken, and brought before the command 
ant (their chiefs having been previously sent for, and being 
now assembled in the council house), heard him pronounce the 
words : " that according to the laws of their Father (the English) 
they should 1 be punished with death," the younger of the two, 
who was the son of the other, sprang from his seat, and having 
forced his way to 2 the door, endeavoured with a knife or dagger 
he had hidden under his blanket, to work his way through the 
strong guard placed outside of the door and 3 in the street to 
prevent their escape ; in this attempt, however, he was stabbed 
and fell ; all which occasioned much noise and commotion 
without, and not a little fear and uneasiness within, among the 
spectators and officers of government ; yet, not one of the chiefs, 
who were many in number, either moved from his seat, nor 
looked around, or even at one another; but they all remained 
sitting in the same posture as before, smoking their pipes as if 
nothing had happened. 

Though there are sometimes individuals in a nation, who dis 
regard the counsel and good advice given by the chiefs, yet 
they do not meet with support so as to be able to oppose the 
measures of government. They are generally looked upon as 
depraved beings, who not daring to associate with the others, 
lurk about by themselves, generally bent on mischief of a minor 
kind, such as pilfering small articles of goods and provisions. 
As soon, however, as they go a step further, and become known 
thieves and murderers, they are considered a disgrace to the 
nation, and being in a manner disowned by it, they are no longer 
entitled to their protection. 

In the year 1785, an Indian of this description, murdered a 
Mr. Evans at Pittsburg; when, after a confinement of several 
months, his trial was to be brought on, the chiefs of his (the 
Delaware nation,) were invited to come to be present at the 

1 For " should" read " deserved to" 

2 For "to" read " out at! 

3 Dele " outside of the door and." 


proceedings and see how the trial would be conducted, and, 
also, if they chose, to speak in behalf of the accused. These 
chiefs, however, instead of coming, as wished for, sent to the 
civil officers of that place the following laconic answer : " Breth 
ren ! You inform us that N. N. who murdered one of your men 
at Pittsburg, is shortly to be tried by the laws of your country, 
at which trial you request that some of us may be present ! 
Brethren ! knowing N. N. to have been always a very bad man, 
we do not wish to see him ! We, therefore, advise you to try 
him by your laws, and to hang him, so that he may never re 
turn to us again." 

I shall conclude this subject with another anecdote. When 
in the winter of 1788 and 1789, the Indian nations were assem 
bling at Fort Harmer, at the mouth of the Muskingum, where 
a treaty was to be held, an Indian of the Seneca nation was one 
morning found dead on the bank of the river. The Cornplanter, 
chief of this nation, observing some uneasiness among the offi 
cers and people of the place, and fearing the murder at this time 
and place, might perhaps create much disturbance, waited in the 
morning on the Governor, whom he desired " not to be uneasy 
about what had happened the preceding night, for the man who 
had been killed was of no consequence." This meant in other 
words, that he was disowned for his bad conduct by his country 
men, and that his death would not be a loss to his nation. 



IT may justly be a subject of wonder, how a nation 
without a written code of laws or system of jurispru 
dence, without any form or constitution of govern 
ment, and without even a single elective or hereditary 
magistrate, can subsist together in peace and harmony, and in 
the exercise of the moral virtues ; how a people can be well and 
effectually governed without any external authority ; by the 
mere force of the ascendancy which men of superior min.ds have 
over those of a more ordinary stamp ; by a tacit, yet universal 
submission to the aristocracy of experience, talents and virtue ! 
Such, nevertheless, is the spectacle which an Indian nation ex 
hibits to the eye of a stranger. I have been a witness to it for 
a long series of years, and after much observation and reflection 
to discover the cause of this phenomenon, I think I have reason 
to be satisfied that it is in a great degree to be ascribed to the 
pains which the Indians take to instill at an early age honest 
and virtuous principles upon the minds of their children, and 
to the method which they pursue in educating them. This 
method I will not call a system ; for systems are unknown to 
these sons of nature, who, by following alone her simple dic 
tates, have at once discovered and follow without effort that 
plain obvious path which the philosophers of Europe have been 
so^lpng in search of. 

The first step that parents take towards the education of their 
children, is to prepare them for future happiness, by impressing 
upon their tender minds, that they are indebted for their exist- 
8 113 


ence to a great, good and benevolent Spirit, who not only has 
given them life, but has ordained them for certain great purposes. 
That he has given them a fertile extensive country well stocked 
with game of every kind for their subsistence, and that by one 
of his inferior spirits he has also sent down to them from above 
corn, pumpkins, squashes, beans and other vegetables for their 
nourishment; all which blessings their ancestors have enjoyed 
for a great number of ages. That this great Spirit looks down 
upon the Indians, to see whether they are grateful to him and 
make him a due return for the many benefits he has bestowed, 
and therefore that it is their duty to show their thankfulness by 
worshipping him, and doing that which is pleasing in his sight. 
This is in substance the first lesson taught, and from time to 
time repeated to the Indian children, which naturally leads them 
to reflect and gradually to understand that a being which hath 
done such great things for them, and all to make them happy, 
must be good indeed, and that it is surely their duty to do some 
thing that will please him. They are then told that their ances- - 
tors, who received all this from the hands of the great Spirit, 
and lived in the enjoyment of it, must have been informed of 
what would be most pleasing to this good being, and of the 
manner in which his favour could be most surely obtained, and 
they are directed to look up for instruction to those who know 
all this, to learn from them, and revere them for their wisdom 
and the knowledge which they possess ; this creates in the 
children a strong sentiment of respect for their elders, and a 
desire to follow their advice and example.. Their young ambi 
tion is then excited by telling them that they were made the 
superiors of all other creatures, and are to have power over 
them ; great pains are taken to make this feeling take an early 
root, and it becomes in fact their ruling passion through life ; 
for no pains are spared to instill into them that by following the 
advice of the most admired and extolled hunter, trapper or 
warrior, they will at a future day acquire a degree of fame and 
reputation, equal to that which he possesses; that by submitting 
to the counsels of the aged, the chiefs, the men superior in 
wisdom, they may also rise to glory, and be called Wiscmen, an 
honourable title, to which no Indian is indifferent. They are 


finally told that if they respect the aged and infirm, and are kind 
and obliging to them, they will be treated in the same manner 
when their turn comes to feel the infirmities of old age. 

When this first and most important lesson is thought to be 
sufficiently impressed upon children s minds, the parents next 
proceed to make them sensible of the distinction between good 
and evil; they tell them that there are good actions and bad 
actions, both equally open to them to do or commit ; that good 
acts are pleasing to the good Spirit which gave them their ex 
istence, and that on the contrary, all that is bad proceeds from 
the bad spirit who has given them nothing, and who cannot give 
them any thing that is good, because he has it not, and therefore 
he envies them that which they have received from the good 
Spirit, who is far superior to the bad one. 

This introductory lesson, if it may be so called, naturally 
makes them wish to know what is good and what is bad. This 
the parent teaches him in his own way, that is to say, in the 
way in which he was himself taught by his own parents. It is 
not the lesson of an hour nor of a day, it is rather a long course 
more of practical than of theoretical instruction, a lesson, which 
is not repeated at stated seasons or times, but which is shewn, 
pointed out, and demonstrated to the child, not only by those 
under whose immediate guardianship he is, but by the whole 
community, who consider themselves alike interested in the 
direction to be given to the rising generation. 

When this instruction is given in the form of precepts, it must 
not be supposed that it is done in an authoritative or forbidding 
tone, but, on the contrary, in the gentlest and most persuasive 
manner : nor is the parent s authority ever supported by harsh 
or compulsive means ; no whips, no punishments, no threats are 
even used to enforce commands or compel obedience. The 
< child s pride is the feeling to which an appeal is made, which 
proves successful in almost every instance. A father needs only 
to say in the presence of his children : u I want such a thing 
done ; I want one of my children to go upon such an errand ; 
let me see who is the good child that will do it ! " This word 
good operates, as it were, by magic, and the children immediately 
vie with each other to comply with the wishes of their parent. 


If a father sees an old decrepid man or woman pass by, led 
along by a child, he will draw the attention of his own children 
to the object by saying- : " What a good child that must be, 
which pays such attention to the aged ! That child, indeed, 
looks forward to the time when it will likewise be old!" or he 
will say, " May the great Spirit, who looks upon him, grant this 
good child a long life ! " 

In this manner of bringing up children, the parents, as I have 
already said, are seconded by the whole community. If a child 
is sent from his father s dwelling to carry a dish of victuals to 
an aged person, all in the house will join in calling him a good 
child. They will ask whose child he is, and on being told, will 
exclaim : what ! has the Tortoise , or the little Bear (as the father s 
name may be) got such a good child ? If a child is seen passing 
through the streets leading an old decrepid person, the villagers 
will in his hearing, and to encourage all the other children who 
may be present to take example from him, call on one another 
to look on and see what a good child that must be. And so, in 
most instances, this method is resorted to, for the purpose of 
instructing children in things that are good, proper, or honour 
able in themselves ; while, on the other hand, when a child has 
committed a bad act, the parent will say to him : " O ! how 
grieved I am that my child has done this bad act ! I hope he 
will never do so again." This is generally effectual, particularly 
if said in the presence of others. The whole of the Indian 
plan of education tends to elevate rather than to depress the 
mind, and by that means to make determined hunters and fear 
less warriors. 

Thus, when a lad has killed his first game, such as a deer or 
a bear, parents who have boys growing up will not fail to say 
to some person in the presence of their own children : " That 
boy must have listened attentively to the aged hunters, for, 
though young, he has already given a proof that he will become 
a good hunter himself." If, on the other hand, a young man 
should fail of giving such a proof, it will be said of him " that 
he did not pay attention to the discourses of the aged." 

In this indirect manner is instruction on all subjects given to 
the young people. They are to learn the arts of hunting, trap- 


ping, and making war, by listening to the aged when conversing 
together on those subjects, each, in his turn, relating how he 
acted, and opportunities are afforded to them for that purpose. 
By this mode of instructing youth, their respect for the aged is 
kept alive, and it is increased by the reflection that the same 
respect will be paid to them at a future day, when young per 
sons will be attentive to what they shall relate. 

This method of conveying instruction is, I believe, common 
to most Indian nations ; it is so, at least, amongst all those that 
I have become acquainted with, and lays the foundation for that 
voluntary submission to their chiefs, for which they are so re 
markable. Thus has been maintained for ages, without convul 
sions and without civil discords, this traditional government, of 
which the world, perhaps, does not offer another example ; a 
government in which there are no positive laws, but only long 
established habits and customs, no code of jurisprudence, but 
the experience of former times, no magistrates, but advisers, to 
whom the people, nevertheless, pay a willing and implicit obe 
dience, in which age confers rank, wisdom gives power, and 
moral goodness secures a title to universal respect. All this 
seems to be effected by the simple means of an excellent mode 
of education, by which a strong attachment to ancient customs, 
respect for age, and the love of virtue are indelibly impressed 
upon the minds of youth, so that these impressions acquire 
strength as time pursues its course, and as they pass through 
successive generations. 



;N all the North American territories bounded to the 
north and east by the Atlantic ocean, and to the 
south and west by the river Mississippi, and the pos 
sessions of the English Hudson s Bay company, there 
appears to be but four principal languages, branching out, it is 
true, into various dialects, but all derived from one or the other 
of the four mother tongues, some of which extend even beyond 
the Mississippi, and perhaps, as far as the Rocky Mountains. 
These four languages are : 


THIS language is spoken by the inhabitants of Greenland and 
on the Continent by the Eskimaux Indians of the coast of Lab 
rador. Its forms and principles are sufficiently known by nlans 
of the Grammar and Dictionary of the venerable Egede, 1 and 
the works of Bartholinus, Wceldike, Thornhallesen, 2 Cranz 3 and 
others. It is much cultivated by the Missionaries of the Society 
of the United Brethren, by whom we may expect to see its prin- 

1 Grammatica Groenlandico-Danico-Latina, edita a P. Egede, Hafnise, 1760, Svo. 
Dictionarium Groenlandico-Danico-Latinum, adornatum a P. Egede, Hafnire, 1750, 


2 For " Thornhallesen " read " Thorhallesen" 

3 [The Moravians have been conducting a successful mission in Greenland since 
1733. In 1761, David Crantz, one of their clergymen, sailed for that distant country 
to collect material for a history, touching its physical aspect and resources, the man 
ners and customs of the native tribes. Crantz s work was published at Barby, Saxony, 
in 1765, under the title of "Historic -von Grdnland, enthaltend cfie Beschreibun^ des 
Landes und der Einwohner insbeomdere, die Geschichte der dortigen Mission der evan- 
gelischen Britder zu Neu-Herrnhut und Lichtenfels. v An P^nglish translation ap 
peared in London, in 1766.] 



ciples still further elucidated. It is in Greenland that begin 
those comprehensive grammatical forms which are said to char 
acterise the languages of the vast American continent, as far as 
they are known, and are the more remarkable when contrasted 
with the simplicity of construction of the idioms spoken on the 
opposite European shores, in Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and 
other countries. It appears evident from this single circum 
stance, that America did not receive its original population 
from Europe. 


THIS language in various dialects is spoken by the Mengwe 
or Six Nations, the Wyandots or Hurons, the Naudowessies, 
the Assinipoetuk, called by the French Assiniboils, Assinipoils, 
or Sioux, and by other tribes, particularly beyond the St. Law 
rence. Father La Hontan distinguishes this class of languages 
by the name of the Huron, probably because that nation was 
better known to the French, whose allies they were, than the 
Iroquois, who were in alliance with the English. 1 All these 
languages, however they may be called in a general sense, are 
dialects of the same mother tongue, and have considerable affin 
ity with each other. Mr. Carver is mistaken when he describes 
the Naudowessie as belonging to a class different from the Iro- 
quoi*. 2 It is sufficient to compare the vocabularies that we have 

1 The Hurons, a great while, perhaps centuries ago, became disunited from the 
Iroquois ; many wars took place between them, and the former withdrew at last to 
remote places, where they settled, and were discovered by French Missionaries and 
traders : of this last I was repeatedly assured during my residence at Detroit, between 
1781 and 1786. 

2 Carver says that there are in North America, four different languages, the Iro 
quois to the east, the Chippeway or Algonkin to the northwest, the Naudowessie to 
the west, and the Cherokee, &c. to the south. Travels, ch. 17, Capt. Carver, though 
he appears to have been in general an accurate observer, resided too short a time 
among the Indians to have a correct knowledge of their languages. [Mr. Hecke- 
welder quotes here and elsewhere from " Three Years Travels through the Interior 
Parts of North America for more than Five Thousand Miles, drv.," by Capt. Jonathan 
Carver of the Provincial Troops in America, Phila., 1796. Those tribes of the Nau 
dowessies among whom Carver resided for five months, dwelt about the River St. 
Pierre, 200 miles above its junction with the Mississippi. This was the extreme 
westerly point reached by the adventurous traveller. The entire nation of the Nau 
dowessies, according to Carver, mustered upwards of 2000 fighting men.] 


of these two idioms, to see the great similitude that subsists 
between them. We do not, unfortunately, possess a single 
grammar of any of these dialects ; we have nothing, in fact, 
besides the fragment of Zeisberger s Dictionary, which I have 
already mentioned, but a large vocabulary of the Huron, 1 com 
posed by Father Sagard, a good and pious French Missionary, 
but of very limited abilities, and who also resided too short a 
time among that nation to be able to give a correct account 
of their language. He represents it in his preface, as poor, 
imperfect, anomalous, and inadequate to the clear expression 
of ideas, in which he is contradicted by others whom we have 
reason to believe better informed. Zeisberger considered the 
Iroquois (of which the Huron is a dialect,) as a rich and com 
prehensive idiom. It is to be regretted that a grammar which 
he had composed of it, and the best part of his Dictionary, are 
irretrievably lost. Sir William Johnson speaks highly of the 
powers of this language; 2 Golden, 3 though he did not know it 
himself, speaks in the same manner from the information of 
others. Indeed, Father Sagard s Dictionary itself, when atten 
tively read by a person acquainted with the forms of Indian 
languages, affords sufficient intrinsic evidence of the mistakes 
of the good father who composed it. 


THIS is the most widely extended language of any of those 
that are spoken on this side of the Mississippi. It prevails in 
the extensive regions of Canada, from the coast of Labrador to 
the mouth of Albany river which falls into the southernmost 
part of Hudson s bay, and from thence to the Lake of the Woods, 
which forms the north-western boundary of the United States! 
It appears to be the language of all the Indians of that exten 
sive country, except those of the Iroquois stock, which are by 
far the least numerous. Farther to the north-west, in the terri- 
tories of the Hudson s Bay Company, other Indian nations have 

1 Le grand Voyage du pays des Hurons, par Samuel Sagard, Paris, 1632. To which 
is added, a Dictionary of the Huron language, with a preface. 

2 Philos. Trans. Abr., vol. Ixiii., p. 142. 

3 Hist, of the Five Nations, p. 14. 


been discovered, such as the Blackfoot Indians, Sussee Indians, 
Snake Indians, and others, whose languages are said to be dif 
ferent from the Iroquois and the Lenape, but we are not able to 
form a very correct judgment respecting those idioms from the 
scanty vocabularies which have been given us by Mackenzie, 
Umfreville and other travellers. We must wait for further light 
before we decide. 

Out of the limits of Canada few Iroquois are found, except 
the remnants of those who were once settled in the vicinity of 
the great Lakes, in the northern parts of the now State of New 
York. There are yet some Wyandots in the vicinity of Detroit. 
All the rest of the Indians who now inhabit this country to the 
Mississippi, are of the Lenape stock, and speak dialects of that 
language. It is certain that at the time of the arrival of the 
Europeans, they were in possession of all the coast from the 
northernmost point of Nova Scotia to the Roanoke. Hence 
they were called Wapanachki, or Abenakis, men of the East. 
La Hontan gives us a list of the Indian nations of ancient 
Acadia, all speaking dialects of the Abenaki, or as he calls 
it, of the Algonquin. They were the Abenakis, Micmacs, Cani- 
bas, Mahingans (Mohicans), Openangos, Soccokis, and Etche- 
mins, from whom all Nova Scotia, (excepting the peninsula,) 
and a part of the now district of Maine, were once called by the 
French the country of the Etchemins. He does not speak of the 
Souriquois, who are also known to have inhabited Acadia, and 
likewise spoke a dialect of the Lenape. 

In the interior of the country we find every where the Lenape 
and their kindred tribes. The Miamis, or Twightwees, the 
Potowatomies, the Messissaugees, the Kickapoos, all those 
Indian nations who once inhabited, and parts of whom still 
inhabit the interior of our country on this side of the Missis 
sippi and the great Lakes, are unquestionably, from their dialects, 
of Lenape origin. The Shawanos, it is said, formerly dwelt 
upon the river Savannah, in Georgia, and apart of them remain 
ing in that country, associated with the Creeks, still retain their 
language. 1 As far as we are able to judge from the little kno\v- 

1 Barton s New Views, Ed. 1798. Prelim. Disc., p. 32. 


ledge that has been transmitted to us of the language of the 
Indians who once inhabited Maryland, Virginia, and North 
Carolina, they all appear to have belonged to the same stock, 
the Nanticokes have been shewn to have been intimately con 
nected with the Lenape, and among those who called them 
grandfather. Two pretty copious vocabularies of their language, 
in the possession of the Historical Committee of the American 
Philosophical Society, one of them communicated by Mr. Jeffer 
son and the other by myself, prove it beyond a doubt to have 
been a dialect of the Lenape. 1 The Canai or Kanhawas, who 
have given their name to a river in Virginia which empties 
itself into the Ohio, are known to have been of the same stock. 
The Indian names of rivers, mountains, and towns, through that 
vast extent of country, appear generally derived from the 
Lenape language. 

The Baron de La Hontan, is one of the first writers, I believe, 
who have spoken of the universality of this idiom ; but it is 
extraordinary that he has not said a word of the Lenni Lenape, 
that great and powerful nation. He calls this language the 
Algonquin tongue, although he describes that people as "an 
erratic sort of savages, who, like the Arabs, had no settled 
abode," 2 and admits, that at the time when he wrote, their num 
ber did not exceed 200. What he says on this subject, however, 
is so much to my purpose, that I hope I. shall be permitted to 
make a small extract from it. 

"There are," says the Baron, "but two mother tongues in the 
whole extent of Canada, which I confine within the limits of the 
Mississippi ; they are the Huron and the Algonquin. The first is 
understood by the Iroquois, for the difference between these two 
is no greater than that between the Norman and the French. 
The second, namely the Algonquin, is as much esteemed among 
the savages as the Greek and Latin are in Europe ; though it 

1 The late Dr. Barton, in the work above quoted, append., p. 3,* seems to doubt 
this fact, and relies on a series of numerals which I once communicated to him, and 
was found among the papers of the late Rev. Mr. Pyrlzeus. But it is by no means 
certain that those numerals were taken from the language of the Nanticokes, and the 
vocabularies above mentioned leave no doubt as to the origin of that dialect. 

* For "page 3" read " $age 5." 

2 Letter v. 


would seem that the aborigines, to whom it owes its original, 
disgrace it by the thinness of their nation, for their whole number 
does not amount to two hundred"^ 

What the Baron says here of this language is very correct ; 
but why does he call it the Algonquin, and ascribe its origin 
to that miserable wandering tribe? He had the Abenakis at 
hand, whom in another place he puts at the head of the tribes in 
habiting Nova Scotia, and who still preserved the generic name 
of the whole nation, WapanacJiki, which the French have 
softened to suit the analogy of their own tongue, by which 
name the different nations and tribes of the Lenape stock still 
recognise each other to this day. It is probable that he did not 
sufficiently understand their language, 2 to have much conversa 
tion with them, otherwise they would have informed him that 
they derived their origin from a great and powerful nation 
residing in the interior of the country, whom they revered 
as their grandfather, at whose door the great national -council 
fire was kept constantly burning, whose badge was the Turtle, 
and whose supremacy was acknowledged by all the kindred 

Father Charlevoix, who also speaks of the universality of this 
language, commits the same error in ascribing its origin to the 
Algonquins. " In the southern part of Hudson s Bay," says he, 
" the trade is carried on with the Matassins, the Monsonies, the 
Christinaux (Knisteneaux), and the Assinipoils, the three first of 
which speak the Algonquin language." 3 In a later publication, 
(I think by a Mr. Winterbotham,) of which, during my travels, 
some years ago, I had merely a glance, I found by some words 
he had put down in the language of those people, that they 
were Minsi or Monseys, a branch of the wolf tribe of the Lenape. 
So indeed, one of their names, Monsonies, seems of itself to 
indicate. The name of the Matassins, means in their language 

1 Letter xxv. 

2 He says that it is not copious, and is only adapted to the necessities and con 
veniences of life. These are the ideas which strangers and philosophers, reasoning 
a priori, entertain of Indian languages; but those who are well acquainted with 
them think very differently. And yet the Baron says that the Algonquin is " the 
finest and the most universal language on the Continent." 

3 Letter xi., p. 276. 


a tobacco pipe, and so it does in the Monsey to this day. And 
they all speak the Algonquin, a language, say both Charlevoix 
and La Hontan, universally known for a thousand leagues round. 
The last mentioned author subjoins a vocabulary of what he 
calls the Algonquin tongue, which bears a greater affinity to the 
language of the Unamis or Turtle 1 tribe of the Lenape than that 
does to the idiom of the Monsey or Wolf tribe of the same 
nation. I find many words in the Algonquin (as given by La 
Hontan), which are exactly the same as in the Unami, while 
others bear more resemblance to the Chippeway, also a dialect 
of the Lenape, spoken by a tribe in connexion with the Dela- 
wares, and who call them grandfather. 

There can be no doubt, therefore, that this universal language, 
so much admired and so generally spoken by the Indian nations, 
is that of the Lenni Lenape, and is improperly named the Chip 
peway by Carver, and the Algonquin by La Hontan. The cele 
brated Professor Vater, in his excellent continuation of Adelung s 
Mithridates, calls the class of languages derived from this source, 
"the Chippewayo-Delawarian, or Algonkino-Mohican stock." 2 
It is, perhaps, indifferent for philological purposes, whether a 
language be called the Delaware or the Chippeway, the Algon 
quin or the Mohican ; but every body must be sensible of the 
inconvenience of those long compound names, which leave no 
fixed or determinate idea upon the mind. For the purpose of 
general description it seems better to designate the languages 
of those connected tribes by the name of their common grand 
father, the Lenni Lenape, or by the generic denomination uni 
versally adopted among them, Wapanachki, or Abenaki. I have 
preferred the former as a mark of respect to an ancient and once 
powerful nation, and in the hope that her name may be pre 
served, at least, in the records of philological science. 

This beautiful language, and those which are derived from it, 
though more has been written upon them than on any of the 
other languages of these parts of the North American continent, 

1 It should be properly Tortoise ; but this word seems in a fair way to be entirely 
superseded by Turtle, as well in England as in this country. 

2 Chippewdisch-Delawarischer, oder Algonkisch-Moheganischer, Stamm. Mithrid., 
part III., vol. iii., p. 337. 


are as yet but little known. The grammar of the Natick dialect 
published by Eliot, at Cambridge in Massachusetts, in the year 
1666, has long been out of print, and is to be found only in very 
few libraries in the United States ; Dr. Edwards s little tract on 
the Mohican language, although printed twice, does not appear 
to have had much circulation, and is not alone sufficient to give 
an idea of the forms and construction of these Indian dialects. 
Zeisberger s Delaware spelling book is but a collection of words, 
and does not contain any grammatical explanations. The learned 
Vater has taken immense pains, from the scanty helps within 
his reach, to discover the grounds and principles of these idioms, 
and what he has written on the subject is a proof of what talents 
and industry can effect with little means. But still the matter 
is not sufficiently understood. There is in the library of the 
society of the United Brethren in this town, an excellent MS. 
grammar of the Lenni Lenape, written in German by Zeisberger. 
I understand that the Historical Committee of the American 
Philosophical Society are going to publish an English translation 
of this valuable work. I rejoice in the prospect of this publica 
tion, which will give a clear and satisfactory view of the true 
genius and character of the languages of the Indian nations. At 
the request of the same Committee, I have endeavoured to give 
some further development of the principles which that gram 
mar contains, in a series of letters to their Secretary, which, I am 
informed, are also to be printed. This supersedes the necessity 
of my entering here into more details on this interesting subject. 
I hope the result of these publications will be to satisfy the world 
that the languages of the Indians are not so poor, so devoid of 
variety of expression, so inadequate to the communication even 
of abstract ideas, or in a word so barbarous, as has been gene 
rally imagined. 


I CALL by this generic name, the languages spoken by those 
Indian nations who inhabit the southern frontier of the United 
States and the Spanish Province of Florida. They are the 
Creeks or Muskohgees, Chickesaws, Choctaws, Pascagoulas, 
Cherokees or Cheerakees, and several others. It is said that 


there once existed among them a powerful nation called the 
Natchez, whose language was the mother tongue of all those 
southern dialects. We are told also of an Apalachian nation, 
who it is said lived in the western parts of Louisiana, and were 
a part of the great nation of the Apalachians, who resided in the 
mountains which bear their name, and whose branches were 
settled under different denominations, in the vast extent of 
country situated between Louisiana, Canada and New England. 1 
In this great Apalachian nation we cannot help recognising our 
friends the Lenape, or Wapanacliki, whose name the French in 
the south have as easily corrupted into Apalaches, as those in 
the north into Abenakis. It was they who gave their name to 
the Apalachian mountains, once so called, but which of late 
have resumed their former appellation of Alligewi, or Allegheny. 
Mr. Vater thinks that the remains of those Apalachians are still 
to be found in the Catawbas, 2 who are sometimes named Chak- 
tawas 3 and probably are the same who by contraction are now 
called Choktaws. 

Other writers speak to us of the Mobilians, 4 as the nation from 
which the neighbouring tribes derived their origin, and whose 
language was their mother tongue. The fact is, that we know 
very little about these southern Indians, and on the subject of 
their languages we have nothing to guide our enquiries, but a 
few words given us by Adair, and some that have been collected 
from various sources by the late Dr. Barton. We are not, how 
ever, without the means of obtaining full and accurate infor 
mation on this interesting subject, and I hope the historical 
committee will be successful in the measures which they are 
about to take to procure it. Mr. Meigs, the United States agent 
with the Cherokees, Mr. Mitchell, agent to the Creeks, and the 
Rev. John Gambold, who has long lived as a Missionary of the 

.* Vater in Mithrid., part III., vol. 3, p. 283, quotes De Laet, Novus Orbis, pp. 98, 
103, Du Pratz, vol. 2, pp. 208, 9, Rochefort, Histoire Natur. des Antilles, pp. 351, 
394, and Hervas, Catologo delle Lingue, p. 90; none of which works I have it in 
my power to consult. 

2 Mithrid., ibid. 

3 Loskiel, part I., ch. i. 

4 Duvallon, Vue de la Colonie Espagnole du Mississippi, quoted by Vater, in 
Mithrid., ibid., p. 297. 


Society of the United Brethren with the former of these nations, 
are well able to satisfy their enquiries, and I have no doubt will 
be happy to give their aid to the advancement of the literature 
of their country. 

It is a fact worthy of remark, and much to be regretted, that 
the French and English, who have been so long in possession 
of the immense country extending from Labrador to the Missis 
sippi, have written so little respecting the Indian languages of 
this part of the American continent. Among the English, Eliot 
alone, and among the French, Father Sagard, can be said to 
have published anything on this subject that is worth notice. 
Zeisberger was a German, and Mr. Edwards an American. On 
the contrary, the Spaniards 1 have published a great number of 
grammars and dictionaries of the Indian languages spoken within 
the limits of their American possessions, and deserve much 
credit for these exertions. It is not yet too late for the inde 
pendent Americans to retrieve the neglect of their forefathers ; 
but no time should be lost, as the Indian nations are fast disap 
pearing from the face of our country, and our posterity may 
have to regret hereafter that greater pains were not taken to 
preserve the memory of their traditions, customs, manners, and 


1 The Bibliotheca Americana records 45 grammars and 25 dictionaries of the lan 
guages spoken in Mexico only, and 85 works of different authors on religious and 
moral subjects written or translated into some of those languages. 



has been asserted by many persons that the lan 
guages of the Indians are deficient in words, and that, 
in order to make themselves understood, they are 
obliged to resort to motions and signs with their 
hands. This is entirely a mistake. I do not know a nation of 
whom foreigners do not say the same thing. The fact is, that 
in every country, signs and motions with the hands more or less 
accompany discourse, particularly when delivered with a certain 
degree of earnestness and warmth. Foreigners, who are not 
very conversant with a language, pay in general as much and 
sometimes more attention to these motions than to the words 
of the speaker, in order the better to be able to understand what 
falls from him. Hence, almost every nation charges the others 
with too much gesticulation in speaking. For a similar reason, 
a foreign language is generally thought to be spoken quicker 
than our own, while the truth is, that it is our ear which is slow 
in distinguishing the words, not the voice which speaks that is 
too quick in uttering them. 

The Indians do not gesticulate more when they speak than 
other nations do. In their public speeches they will, like our 
preachers and lawyers, enforce what they say by gestures and 
motions of the body and hands, in order to give greater weight 
to their observations, or to represent the subject they speak of 
in a more lively manner than can be done by words alone ; but 
in common conversation they make few of those motions, and 
not more, I believe, than we do ourselves ; even the women, 
who every where speak more than the men, never want words 
to express themselves, but rather seem to have too many, and 



they do not oftener employ gestures in aid of their conversation 
than the vivacity of their sex induces them to do every where else. 

It is true that the Indians have a language of signs, by which 
they communicate with each other on occasions when speaking 
is not prudent or proper, as, for instance, when they are about to 
meet an enemy, and by speaking they would run the risk of 
being discovered. By this means they also make themselves 
understood to those nations of Indians whose languages they 
are not acquainted with, for all the Indian nations understand 
each other in this way. It is also, in many cases, a saving of 
words, which the Indians are much intent on, believing that too 
much talking disgraces a man. When, therefore, they will re 
late something extraordinary in a few words, they make use of 
corresponding signs, which is very entertaining to those who 
listen and attend to them, and who are acquainted both with the 
language and the signs, being very much as if somebody were 
to explain a picture set before them. But they never make use 
of signs to supply any deficiency of language, as they have 
words and phrases sufficient to express every thing. 

I have frequently questioned Indians who had been educated 
at our schools, and could understand, read, write, and speak 
both English and German, whether they could express their 
ideas better in either of those languages than in their own, and 
they have always and uniformly answered that they could ex 
press themselves with far the greatest ease in their own Indian, 
and that they never were at a loss for words or phrases in which 
to clothe every idea that occurred to them, without being in 
any case obliged to gesticulate or make motions with their hands 
or otherwise. From the knowledge which I have acquired of 
their language, I have reason to be satisfied that it is so. Indeed, 
how can it be doubted, when we have the whole of the Bible 
and New Testament translated into one of their dialects, and 
when we see our ministers, when once familiar with the lan 
guage of the nation with which they reside, preach to them 
without the least difficulty on the most abstruse subjects of the 
Christian faith? It is true, that ideas are not always expressed 
in those languages in the same words, or under the same gram 
matical forms as in our own ; where we would use one part of 


speech, we are obliged to employ another, and one single word 
with them will not seldom serve a purpose for which we would 
have to employ several ; but still, the ideas are communicated, 
and pass with clearness and precision from mind to mind. Thus 
the end of oral language is completely obtained, and more, I 
think, cannot be required. 

The Indians do not possess our art of writing, they have no 
alphabets, or 1 any mode of representing to the eye the sounds 
of words spoken, yet they have certain hieroglyphics, by which 
they describe facts in so plain a manner, that those who are 
conversant with those marks can understand them with the 
greatest ease, as easily, indeed, as we can understand a piece of 
writing. For instance, on a piece of bark, or on a large tree 
with the bark taken off for the purpose, by the side of a path, 
they can and do give every necessary information to those who 
come by the same way ; they will in that manner let them know, 
that they were a war party of so many men, from such a place, 
of such a nation and such a tribe ; how many of each tribe were 
in the party; to which tribe the chief or captain belonged; in 
what direction they proceeded to meet the enemy; how many 
days they were out and how many returning; what number 
of the enemy they had killed, how many prisoners they had 
brought; how many scalps they had taken; whether they had 
lost any of their party, and how many ; what enemies they had 
met with, and how many they consisted of; of what nation or 
tribe their captain was, &c. ; all which, at a single glance, is 
perfectly well understood by them. In the same manner they 
describe a chase : all Indian nations can do this, although they 
have not all the same marks ; yet I have seen the Delawares 
read with ease the drawings of the Chippeways, Mingoes, Shaw- 
anos, and Wyandots, on similar subjects. 

While Indians are travelling to the place of their destination, 
whether it be on a journey to their distant hunting grounds or 
on a war excursion, some of the young men are sent out to hunt 
by the way, who, when they have killed a deer, bear, or other 
animal, bring it to the path, ready to be taken away by those 
who are coming along, (often with horses) to the place of en- 

1 For "or" read "nor." 


campment, when they all meet at night. Having hung up the 
meat by the side of the path, these young men make a kind of 
sun-dial, in order to inform those who are coming of the time 
of day it was at the time of their arrival and departure. A clear 
place in the path is sought for, and if not readily found, one is 
made by the side of it, and a circle or ring being drawn on the 
sand or earth, a stick of about two or three feet in length is fixed 
in the centre, with its upper end bent towards that spot in the 
horizon where the sun stood at the time of their arrival or de 
parture. If both are to be noted down, two separate sticks are 
set ; but generally one is sufficient, namely, for the time of de 

Hunters have particular marks, which they make on the trees, 
where they strike off from the path to their hunting grounds or 
place of encampment, which is often at the distance of many 
miles ; yet the women, who come from their towns to fetch meat 
from these camps, will as readily find them as if they were con 
ducted to the spot. 

I shall conclude this chapter with an anecdote, which will at 
once shew how expressive and energetic is this hieroglyphic 
writing of the Indians. A white man in the Indian country, 
met l a Shawanos riding a horse which he recognised for his 
own, and claimed it from him as his property. The Indian 
calmly answered; " Friend ! after a little while, I will call on you 
at your house, when we shall talk of this matter." A few days 2 
afterwards, the Indian came to the white man s house, who in 
sisting on having his horse restored, the other then told him : 
" Friend ! the horse which you claim belonged to my uncle who 
lately died ; according to the Indian custom, I have become heir 
to all his property." The white man not being satisfied, and 
renewing his demand, the Indian immediately took a coal from 
the fire-place, and made two striking figures on the door pf the 
house, the one representing the white man taking the horse, 
and the other, himself, in the act of scalping him ; then he 
coolly asked the trembling claimant "whether he could read 
this Indian writing?" The matter thus, was settled at once, 
and the Indian rode off. 

1 For " met " read " saw." 2 For " days " read " hottrs." 



|HE eloquence of the Indians is natural and simple; 
they speak what their feelings dictate without art and 
without rule ; their speeches are forcible and impres 
sive, their arguments few and pointed, and when they 
mean to persuade as well as convince, they take the shortest 
way to reach the heart. I know that their oratorical powers 
have been strongly controverted, and this is not astonishing, 
when we consider the prejudice that exists against their lan 
guages, which are in general believed to be poor, and inadequate 
to the expression of any but the most common ideas. Hence 
all the specimens that have been given to the world of their 
oratory have been viewed with a suspicious eye ; the celebrated 
speech of Logan, authenticated as it is by the respectable au 
thority of Col. John Gibson, has been denied to be genuine even 
in this country. For my part, I am convinced that it was de 
livered precisely as it is related to us, with this only difference, 
that it possessed a force and expression in the Indian language 
which it is impossible to transmit into our own. 

I hope the exertions and researches of the Historical Com 
mittee will make the character and genius of the Indian lan 
guages better known than they have hitherto been. The world 
will then be better able to judge of their extent and powers, and 
to decide whether or not they are adequate to the purposes of 
oratory. In the meantime, I shall content myself with present 
ing another specimen of Indian eloquence ; one which I did not 
receive at second hand, but at the delivery of which I was 
present in person. The translation which I offer will give but a 



faint idea of the strength and spirit of the original ; I vouch, 
however, for its being as correct as it has been in my power to 
make it. 

This speech was spoken at Detroit, 1 on the frontier of Canada, 
on the Qth of December, 2 1801, by Captain Pipe, 3 a chief of the 
Delaware nation, and was addressed to the commanding officer 
of that post, then in possession of the British. The Delawares, 
it will be recollected, had been the stedfast friends of the French, 
in the war of 1756. The peace which was concluded in 1763, 
between the two great nations who then contended for the 
supremacy of this continent, was not for several years regarded 
by the Indians, and they continued their hostilities against the 
subjects and government of Great Britain. They were obliged, 
however, to submit to superior force ; not without hopes that 
their father, the king of France, would soon send over a powerful 
army to retake Canada. They were in this situation when the 
war of the revolution broke out. It is well known that it was a 
part of the system of the British administration to employ the 
savages to subdue those whom they called their revolted sub 
jects. The Delawares, in general, as I have before related, 
having in vain endeavoured to remain neutral, took part with 
the Americans. Captain Pipe, however, with a party of the 
Wolf tribe, joined the English in the beginning of the war, and 

1 Loskiel, part III., ch. 9. 

2 For " December" read " November" 

3 [Pipe, a leader of the Wolf tribe of the Monkey?, was residing in the Ohio 
country at the time of Bouquet s expedition against the Delawares and Shawanon of 
the Muskingum and Scioto, in 1764. When the Moravians entered the valley of the 
former river, he was at home on the Walhonding, about 15 miles above the present 
Coshocton. In the border wars of the Revolution, he at first declared against the 
Americans, withdrawing with the disaffected Delawares to the Tymochtee creek, a 
branch of the Sandusky, within the limits of the present Crawford County. While 
here, he was a serviceable tool in the hands of the British at Detroit. To the Mo 
ravian mission among his countrymen he was for many years unjustifiedly hostile. 
Eventually, however, he regarded the work apparently with favor. It was the Pipe 
who doomed Col. William Crawford to torture, after the failure of the latter s expe 
dition against Sandusky in the summer of 1782. After the treaty of Fort Harmar in 
January of 1789, Pipe threw all his influence on the side of those of his people who 
now resolved at all hazards to uphold peace with the United States. He died a few 
days before the defeat of the confederated Indians by Wayne, near the rapids of the 



soon after repented it. But it was too late. He was now 
reluctantly compelled to go out against the Americans with the 
men under his command. On his return from one of those 
expeditions, he went to make his report to the British command 
ant at Detroit, 1 by whom he was received in state at the council 
house, in the presence of a great number of Indians, British 
officers and others. There were several Missionaries present, 
among which I was. The chief was seated in front of his In 
dians, facing the commandant. He held in his left hand an 
human scalp tied to a short stick. After a pause of some 
minutes he rose, and addressing the governor, delivered the 
following speech : 

" FATHER ! " (Here the orator stopped, and turning round 
to the audience, with a face full of meaning, and a sarcastic look, 
which I should in vain attempt to describe, he went on in a lower 
tone of voice, as addressing himself to them;) "I have said 
father, although, indeed, I do not know why I am to call him 
so, having never known any other father than the French, and 
considering the English only as brothers. But as this name is 
also imposed upon us, I shall make use of it and say : (Here he 
fixed his eyes on the commandant.) 

"FATHER! Some time ago you put a war hatchet into my 
hands, saying: Take this weapon and try it on the heads of my 
enemies the long knives, and let me afterwards know if it was 
sharp and good. 

" FATHER ! At the time when you gave me this weapon, I had 
neither cause nor inclination to go to war against a people who 
had done me no injury; yet in obedience to you, who say you 
are my father and call me your child, I received the hatchet ; 
well knowing that if I did not obey, you would withhold from 
me 2 the necessaries of life, without which I could not subsist, 
and which are not elsewhere to be procured but at the house of 
my father. 

" FATHER ! You may, perhaps, think me a fool, for risking 

1 See Loskiel, part III., ch. 9, p. 704, German text, and p. 165, Eng. Trans. 

2 It will be understood that he speaks here throughout for himself and his nation 
or tribe, though always in the first person of the singular, according to the Indian 


my life at your bidding, in a cause, too, by which I have no 
prospect of gaining anything ; for it is your cause and not mine. 
It is your concern to fight the long knives; you have raised a 
quarrel amongst yourselves, and you ought yourselves to fight it 
out. You should not compel your children, the Indians, to 
expose themselves to danger for your sakes. 

" FATHER ! Many lives have already been lost on your account 
Nations have suffered and been weakened ! Children have 
lost parents, brothers and relatives ! Wives have lost hus 
bands ! It is not known how many more may perish before 
your war will be at an end ! 

"FATHER ! I have said that you may, perhaps, think me a fool, 
for thus thoughtlessly rushing on your enemy ! Do not believe 
this, Father ! Think not that I want sense to convince me, that 
although you now pretend to keep up a perpetual enmity to the 
long knives, you may, before long, conclude a peace with them. 

" FATHER ! You say you love your children, the Indians. 
This you have often told them ; and indeed it is your interest to 
say so to them, that you may have them at your service. 

" But, FATHER ! who of us can believe that you can love 
a people of a different colour from your own, better than those 
who have a white skin, like yourselves ? 

" FATHER ! Pay attention to what I am going to say. While 
you, Father, are setting me * on your enemy, much in the same 
manner as a hunter sets his dog on the game ; while I am in the 
act of rushing on that enemy of yours, with the bloody destruc 
tive weapon you gave me, I may, perchance, happen to look back 
to the place from whence you started me, and what shall I see ? 
Perhaps, I may see my father shaking hands with \.}\G long knives ; 
yes, with those very people he now calls his enemies. I may, 
then, see him laugh at my folly for having obeyed his orders ; 
and yet I am now risking my life at his command ! Father ! 
keep what I have said in remembrance. 

" Now, FATHER ! here is what has been done with the hatchet 
you gave me." (Handing the stick with the scalp on it.) " I have 
done with the hatchet what you ordered me to do, and found it 
sharp. Nevertheless, I did not do all that I might have done. 

1 Meaning his nation, and speaking, as usual, in the first person. 


No, I did not My heart failed within me. I felt compassion 
for your enemy. Innocence l had no part in your quarrels ; there 
fore I distinguished I spared. I took some live flesh? which, 
while I was bringing to you, I spied one of your large canoes, on 
which I put it for you. In a few days you will receive thisfas/i. 
and find that the skin is of the same colour with your own. 

" FATHER ! I hope you will not destroy what* I have saved. 
You, Father ! have the means of preserving that which with me 
would perish for want. The warrior is poor and his cabin 
is always empty ; but your house, father ! is always full." 

Here we see boldness, frankness, dignity, and humanity hap 
pily blended together and most eloquently displayed. I am 
much mistaken if the component parts of this discourse are not 
put together much according to the rules of oratory which are 
taught in the schools, and which were certainly unknown to this 
savage. The peroration at the end is short, but truly pathetic, 
and I would even say, sublime ; and then the admirable way in 
which it is prepared ! I wish I could convey to the reader s 
mind only a small part of the impression which this speech 
made on me and on all present when it was delivered. 

It is but justice here to say, that Capt. Pipe was well ac 
quainted with the noble and generous character of the British 
officer to whom this speech was addressed. He is still living in 
his own country, an honour to the British name. He obeyed 
the orders of his superiors in employing the Indians to fight 
against us, but he did it with reluctance and softened as much as 
was in his power the horrors of that abominable warfare. He 
esteemed Captain Pipe, and I have no doubt, was well pleased 
with the humane conduct of this Indian chief, whose sagacity in 
this instance is no less deserving of praise than his eloquence. 
It is thus that great minds understand each other, and even 
in the most difficult and trying situations, find the means of 
making the cause of humanity triumph. 

1 Meaning women and children. 2 Prisoners. 

8 To make his language agree with the expression live flesh. 



[HE Indians are fond of metaphors. They are to their 
discourse what feathers and beads are to their per 
sons, a gaudy but tasteless ornament. Yet we must 
not judge them too severely on that account. There 
are other nations besides the American Indians who admire 
this mode of expression. Even in enlightened Europe, many 
centuries have not elapsed since the best and most celebrated 
writers employed this figure in a profuse manner, and thought it 
a great embellishment to their poetical and prose compositions ; 
the immortal Shakspeare, himself, did not disdain it. 

The following examples will be sufficient to give an idea of 
the metaphorical language of the Indians. 

1. " The sky is overcast with dark blustering clouds." We shall 
have troublesome times; we shall have war. 

2. "A black cloud has arisen yonder" War is threatened from 
that quarter, or from that nation. 

3. "Two black clouds are drawing toivards each other" Two 
powerful enemies are in march against each other ! 

4. "The path is already shut up!" Hostilities have com 
menced. The war is begun. 

5. " The rivers run with blood!" War rages in the country. 

6. " To bury the hatchet" To make, or conclude a peace. 

7. "To lay down t/ie hatchet, or to slip the hatcliet under the bed 
stead" To cease fighting for a while, during a truce; or, to 
place the hatchet at hand, so that it may be taken up again at a 
moment s warning. 


8. " The hatchet you gave me to strike your enemies, proved to be 
very dull, or not to be sharp ; my arm was wearied to little pur 
pose ! " You supplied me so scantily with the articles I stood in 
need of, that I wanted strength to execute your orders. The 
presents you gave me were not sufficient for the task you 
imposed upon me, therefore I did little ! 

9. " The hatchet you gave me was very sharp/" As you have 
satisfied me, I have done the same for you ; I have killed many 
of your enemies. 

10. " You did not make me strong! " You gave me nothing, or 
but little. 

xli. "Make me very strong!"- Give me much, pay me well ! 

\2~**The stronger you make me, the more you vvill see !" The 
more you give me, the more I will do for you ! 

___i 3 . "/ did as you bid me, but SEE nothing ! " I have performed 
my part, but you have not rewarded me ; or, I did my part for 
you, but you have not kept your word ! 

14. "You have spoken with your lips only, not from the heart!" 
You endeavour to deceive me ; you do not intend to do as 
you say ! 

15. "You now speak from the heart!" Now you mean what 
you say ! 

1 6. " You keep me in the dark!" You wish to deceive me ; you 
conceal your intentions from me ; you keep me in ignorance ! 

17. " You stopped my ears! " You kept the thing a secret from 
me ; you did not wish me to know it ! 

1 8. "Now I believe you ! "- Done ! agreed ! It shall be so ! 

19. "Your words have penetrated into my heart!" I consent! 
am pleased with what you say ! 

20. "You have spoken good words !"--\ am pleased, delighted 
with what you have said ! 

21. "You have spoken the truth!" I am satisfied with what 
you have said ! 

22. "Singing birds ! "Tale bearers story tellers liars. 

23. "Don t listen to the singing of the birds which fly by !" 
Don t believe what stragglers tell you ! 

24. " What bird was it that sung that song ? "Who was it that 
told that story, that lie ? 


25. (To a chief,) "Have you heard the news?" Have you 
been officially informed ? 

26. "I have not heard anything!" I have no official informa 

27. "To kindle a council fire at such a place" To appoint a 
place where the national business is to be transacted ; to estab 
lish the seat of government there. 

28. " To remove the council fire to another placed To establish 
another place for the seat of government. 

29. " The council fire has been extinguished" Blood has been 
shed by an enemy at the seat of government, which has put the 
fire out ; the place has been polluted. 

30. "Don t look the other way/" Don t lean to that side; 
don t join with those ! 

31. "Look this way !" Join us, join our party. 

32. "/ have not room to spread my blanket ! " I am too much 
crowded on. 

33. "Not to have room enough for an encampment"- -To be too 
much confined to a small district ; not to have sufficient range 
for the cattle to feed on, or sufficient hunting ground. 

34. "I will place you under my wings !" .(meaning under my 
arm pits) I will protect you at all hazards ! You shall be per 
fectly safe, nobody shall molest you ! 

35- "Suffer no grass to grow on the war path ! " Carry on the 
war with vigor ! 

36. "Never suffer grass to grow on this war path!" Be at 
perpetual war with the nation this path leads to ; never con 
clude a peace with them. 

37. " To open a path from one nation to another, by removing the 
logs, brush and briars out of the way To invite the nation to 
which the path leads, to a friendly intercourse ; to prepare the 
way to live on friendly terms with them. 

38. " The path to that nation is again open!" We are again 
on friendly terms ; the path may again be travelled with safety. 

39. "/ hear sighing and sobbing in yonder direction ! " I think 
that a chief of a neighbouring nation has died. 

40. "/ draw the thorns out of your feet and legs, grease your 
stiffened joints with oil, and ivipe the sweat off your body / " I 


make you feel comfortable after your fatiguing journey, that 
you may enjoy yourself while with us. 

41. "7 wipe the tears from your eyes, cleanse your cars, and place 
your aching heart, which bears $ou down to one side, in its proper 
position / " I condole with you ; dispel all sorrow ! prepare 
yourself for business ! (N. B. This is said when condoling with 
a nation on the death of a chief.) 

42. "7 have discovered tJie cause of your grief ! " I have seen 
the grave (where the chief was buried.) 

43. "7 have covered yon spot with 1 fresh earth ; I have raked 
leaves, and planted trees thereon!" means literally, I have hidden 
the grave from your eyes ; and figuratively, " you must now be 
cheerful again ! " 

44. "I lift you up from this place, and set you down again at my 
dwelling place /" I invite you to arise from hence, and come 
and live where I live. 

45. "7 am much too heavy to rise at this present time ! " I have 
too much property ! (corn, vegetables, &c.) 

^ 46. "I will pass one niglit yet at this place" I will stay one 
year-yet at this place. 

47. " We have concluded a peace, which is to last as long as the 
sun shall shine, and the rivers flow with water / " The peace we 
have made is to continue as long as the world stands, or to the 
end of time. 

48. " To bury the hatchet beneath the root of a tree" To put it 
quite out of sight. 

49. " To bury deep in the earth" (an injury done) To consign 
it to oblivion. 

^or "-with" read "<?/." 



(HE proper names of Indians are in general given to 
them after animals of various kinds, and even fishes 
and reptiles. Thus they are called the Beaver, Otter \ 
Sun -fisli, Black-fish , Rattle-snake, Black-snake, &c. Th ey 
have also other descriptive names, from their personal qualities 
or appearances, and sometimes from fancy or caprice ; but many 
of those are given them by the whites, such as Pipe, White-eyes, 
Kill-buck, &c., which are not real Indian names. They do not 
always preserve the names first given to them, but often assume 
a new one after they have come to man s estate. 

Indians, who have particularly distinguished themselves by 
their conduct, or by some meritorious act, or who have been the 
subjects of some remarkable occurrence, have names given to 
them in allusion to those circumstances. Thus, I have known 
a man whose name would signify in our language the beloved 
lover, and one who was named Met by love. Another, a great 
warrior, who had been impatiently waiting for day-light to 
engage the enemy, was afterwards called Cause day-light, or 
Make day-light appear. So, one who had come in with a heavy 
load of turkies on his back, was called The Carrier of Turkies, 
and another whose shoes were generally torn or patched, was 
called Bad Shoes. All those names are generally expressed in 
one single word, in compounding which the Indians are very 
ingenious. Thus, the name they had for the place where Phila 
delphia now stands, and which they have preserved notwith- 



standing the great change which has taken place, is Kuequendku? 
which means, The grove of the long pine trees. 

They have proper names, not only for all towns, villages, 
mountains, valleys, rivers, and streams, but for all remarkable 
spots, as for instance, those which are particularly infested with 
gnats or musquitoes, where snakes have their dens, &c. Those 
names always contain an allusion to such particular circum 
stance, so that foreigners, even though acquainted with their 
language, will often be at a loss to understand their discourse. 

To strangers, white men for instance, they will give names 
derived from some remarkable quality which they have ob 
served in them, or from some circumstance which remarkably 
strikes them. When they were told the meaning of the name 
of William Penn, they translated it into their own language by 
Miqnon, which means a feather or quill. The Iroquois call him 
Onas, which in their idiom means the same thing. 

The first name given by the Indians to the Europeans who 
landed in Virginia was Wapsid Lenape (white people ;) when, 
however, afterwards they began to commit murders on the red 
men, whom they pierced with swords, they gave to the Virgin 
ians the name Mechanschican t (long knives,) to distinguish them 
from others of the same colour. 

In New England, they at first endeavoured to imitate the 
sound of the national name of the English, which they pro 
nounced Yengees. They also called them Chauquaquock, (men 
of knives) for having imported those instruments into the 
country, which they gave in presents to the natives. 2 They 
thought them better men than the Virginians ; but when they 
were afterwards cruelly treated by them, and their men shipped 
off to sea, the Mohicans of that country called them Tschach- 
goos ; and when next the people of the middle colonies began 
to murder them, and called on the Iroquois to insult them and 
assist in depriving them of their lands, they then dropped that 
name, and called the whites by way of derision, Schwannack^ 
which signifies salt beings, or bitter beings ; for in their lan- 

1 According to the powers of the English alphabet, it should be written Koo-ek- 

2 Rogers s Key into the Language of the Indians of New England, ch. vi. 


guage the word Schwan, is in general applied to things that 
have a salt, sharp, bitter, or sour taste. The object of this 
name, as well as of that which the Mohicans gave to the east 
ern people, was to express contempt as well as hatred or dis 
like, and to hold out the white inhabitants of the country as 
hateful and despicable beings. I have, however, in many in 
stances observed that the Indians are careful not to apply this 
opprobrious name to any white person whom they know to be 
amicably disposed towards them, and whom they are sure to be 
a good, honest, well-meaning man. I have heard them charge 
their children not to call a particular white man Schwannack, 
but Friend. This name was first introduced about the year 1730. 
They never apply it to the Quakers, whom they greatly love and 
respect since the first arrival of William Penn into the country. 
They call them Qucekels, not having in their language the sound 
expressed by our letter R. They say they have always found 
them good, honest, affable and peaceable men, and never have 
had reason to complain of them. 

These were the names which the Indians gave to the whites, 
until the middle of the Revolutionary war, when they were 
reduced to the following three : 

1. MeclianscJiican or Chanschican (long knives). This they no 
longer applied to the Virginians exclusively, but also to those 
of the people of the middle states, whom they considered as 
hostilely inclined towards them, particularly those who wore 
swords, dirks, or knives at their sides. 

2. Yengees. This name they now exclusively applied to the 
people of New England, who, indeed, appeared to have adopted 
it, and were, as they still are, generally through the country 
called Yankees, which is evidently the same name with a trifling 
alteration. They say they know the Yengees, and can distinguish 
them by their dress and personal appearance, and that they 
were considered as less cruel than the Virginians or long knives. 
The proper English they 1 call Saggenash. 

3. Qucekels. They do not now apply this name exclusively 
to the members of the Society of Friends, but to all the white 

1 For " they " read " the Chifpeiuays and some other nations" 


people whom they love or respect, and whom they believe to 
have good intentions towards them. 

Not only the Delawares, but all the nations round them, 
make use of these names, and with the same relative application. 
I have myself, in 1782, while at Detroit, witnessed the Chippe- 
\vays, who on meeting an American prisoner, who was walking 
about, called out Messamochkemaan (long knife), though he had 
no knife, sword, or dirk at his side. I was one day about the 
same time hailed in that manner as I was walking up the river, 
and apprehending that I might be seized as a runaway prisoner, 
I immediately answered: Kau! Saggenash ; No! an English 
man ; and they passed on. I might with great propriety make 
this answer, as I was born in England. 

In the year 1808, while I was riding with a number of gentle 
men through Greentown l (an Indian town in the State of Ohio), 
I heard an Indian in his house, who through a crevice saw 
us passing, say in his language to his family: "See! what a 
number of people are coming along! What! and among all 
these not one long knife ! All Yengees /" Then, probably ob 
serving me, he said correcting himself, " No ! one Quakel" 

Such are the observations which the Indians make on the 
white people, and the names which they give to them. They 
may sometimes be in the wrong ; but, as they make it their par 
ticular study to become acquainted with the actions, motions, 
deportment, and dress of the different nations, they seldom com 
mit mistakes, and in general, they apply their different names 
precisely to those whom they are meant to designate or describe. 

1 [In Green township, in what is now Ashland County.] 



|T is a striking fact, that the Indians, in their uncivil 
ised state, should so behave towards each other as 
though they were a civilised people! I ha,ve in 
numerous instances witnessed their meeting together, 
their doing business and conversing with each other for hours, 
their labouring together, and their hunting and fishing in bodies 
or parties ; I have seen them divide their game, venison, bear s 
meat, fish, &c., among themselves, when they sometimes had 
many shares to make, and cannot recollect a .single instance of 
their falling into a dispute or finding fault with the distribution, 
as being unequal, or otherwise objectionable. On the contrary, 
on such occasions they even receive what is allotted to them 
with thanks; they say " anise hi" I am thankful ! as if it was a 
present given to them. 

They certainly (I am here speaking of the men) show a rever 
ence for each other, which is visible on all occasions ; they often 
meet for the purpose of conversation, and their sociability ap 
pears to be a recreation to them, a renewal of good fellowship. 
Their general principle, that good and bad cannot mingle or 
dwell together in one heart, and therefore must not come into 
contact, seems to be their guide on all occasions. So, likewise, 
when travelling, whether they are few, or many, they are cheer 
ful, and resigned to the accidents which may befal them ; never 
impatient, quarrelsome, or charging any one, or one another, 
with being in fault, or the occasion of what had happened ; even 
though one should lose his all by the neglect or carelessness of 
10 145 


the other, yet they will not fly into a passion, but patiently bear 
with the loss, thinking within themselves that such a one feels 
sorry enough already, and therefore it would be unreasonable to 
add to his pain. They judge with calmness on all occasions, 
and decide with precision, or endeavour so to do, between an 
/ accident and a wilful act ; the first (they say) they are all liable 
to commit, and therefore it ought not to be noticed, or pun 
ished ; the second being a wilful or premeditated act, com 
mitted with a bad design, ought on the contrary to receive due 

To illustrate this subject, I shall relate a few of the cases of 
this description which have come within my knowledge. One 
morning early, an Indian came into the house of another who 
was yet abed, asking for the loan of his gun for a morning hunt, 
his own being out of repair; the owner readily consented, and 
said : " As my gun is not loaded, you will have to take a few 
balls out of your 1 pouch ! " In taking the gun down, it, how 
ever, by some accident went off, and lodged the contents in the 
owner s head, who was still lying on the bed, and now expired. 
The gun, it appeared, was loaded, though unknown to him, and 
the lock left in such a condition that by a touch it went off. A 
cry was heard from all sides in the house : O ! the accident ! for 
such it was always considered to have been, and was treated as 

A hunter went out to kill a bear, some of those animals hav 
ing been seen in the neighbourhood. In an obscure part of a 
wood, he saw at a distance something black moving, which he 
took for a bear, the whole of the animal not being visible to 
him ; he fired, and found he had shot a black horse. Having 
discovered the mistake, he informed the owner of what had hap 
pened, expressing at the same time his regret that he was not 
possessed of a single horse, with which he could replace the one 
he had shot. What ! replied the Indian whose horse had been 
killed, do you think I would accept a horse from you, though 
you had one to give, after you have satisfied me that you killed 
mine by accident? No, indeed! for the same misfortune might 
also happen to me. 

1 For "your" read "yon." 


An aged Indian who had gone out to shoot a turkey, mistook 
a black hog in the bushes for one of those birds, and shot him ; 
finding out by enquiry to whom the hog belonged, he informed 
the owner of the mistake he had made, offering to pay for the 
hog ; which the other, however, not only would not accept of, but 
having brought the meat in, gave him a leg of the animal, because 
he thought that the unfortunate man, as well on account of his 
disappointment, in not feasting on turkey as he expected soon 
to do when he shot the hog, as for his honesty in informing of 
what he had done, was entitled to a share of what he had killed. 

Two Indians with a large canoe, going down the Muskingum 
river to a certain distance, were accosted by others going by 
land to the same place, who requested them to take their heavy 
articles, as kettles, axes, hoes, &c. into their canoe, which they 
freely did, but unfortunately were shipwrecked at the rocks of 
White Eyes s falls (as the place is called,) where the whole cargo 
was lost, and the men saved themselves by swimming to the 
shore. The question being put and fully discussed, whether 
those men with the canoe, who had taken charge of the property 
of the others, and by this neglect lost the whole, were not liable 
to pay for the loss ? it was decided in the negative, on the fol 
lowing grounds : 

1. That the canoe men had taken the articles on board, with 
the pleasing hope that they thereby would oblige their fellow 
men, and did not expect any recompense for that service. 

2. That although they might have avoided the danger and the 
loss, by unloading the canoe at the head of the fall, and carrying 
the cargo by land below it, (which was but a short distance,) as 
was customary, when the river was not in a proper state to run 
through, yet that, had those who travelled by land been in 
the place of those in the canoe, they might, like them, have 
attempted to have run through, as is sometimes done with suc 
cess, and been equally unfortunate. 

3. That the canoe men having had all their own property on 
board, which was all lost at the same time, and was equally 
valuable to them, it was clear that they had expected to run 
safely through, and could not have intentionally or designedly 
brought on themselves and others the misfortune which had 


happened, and therefore the circumstance must be ascribed 
entirely to accident. 

Such is the disposition of the Indians with regard to those 
who inadvertently meet with a disaster, whereby others are 
injured. They are ready to overlook a fault, and more disposed 
in such cases to commiserate, than to punish ; but with those 
who wilfully and intentionally commit aggressions and injure 
others, they think and act quite differently; a malicious person 
is generally despised, and if he intrudes himself into good com 
pany, they will, without saying a word, steal off one by one, and 
leave him alone to suffer the mortification which it is intended 
he should feel. For murderers and thieves they have no com 
passion, and punish them according to the nature of their crimes, 
if not publicly, still privately, for they are considered as a nui 
sance, and a disgrace to the nation, and so much so were per 
sons of this description considered and despised in former times 
among the Delawares, before the white people came, that it was 
a rare thing to hear of any such being among them. This I have 
repeatedly been told, between the years I//O and 1780, by In 
dians of that nation; one of whom, when a boy, resided on the 
spot where Philadelphia now stands, when the first house was 
building there, and assisted in furnishing the workmen with fish, 
and caught rabbits for them ; the other, who was still older, 
lived with his parents on the spot where afterwards was built 
Perth Amboy in New Jersey : both were respectable men, highly 
esteemed by all who knew them. 

I do not believe that there exists a people more attentive to 
paying common civilities to each other than the Indians are ; 
but this, from a want of understanding their language, as well 
as their customs and manners, generally escapes the notice of 
travellers, although some of them, better observers than the rest, 
have touched upon this subject. In more than one hundred 
instances, I have with astonishment and delight witnessed the 
attention paid to a person entering the house of another, where, 
in the first instance, he is desired to seat himself, with the words, 
" sit down, my friend ! " if he is a stranger, or no relation ; but 
if a relation, the proper title is added. A person is never left 
standing, there are seats for all ; and if a dozen should follow 


each other in succession, all are provided with seats, and the 
stranger, if a white person, with the best. The tobacco pouch 
next is handed round ; it is the first treat, as with us a glass of 
wine or brandy. Without a single word passing between the 
man and his wife, she will go about preparing some victuals for 
the company, and having served the visiters, will retire to a 
neighbour s house, to inform the family of the visit with which 
her husband is honoured, never grumbling on account of their 
eating up the provisions, even if it were what she had cooked for 
her own family, considering the friendly visit well worth this 
small trouble and expense. 

It is true, that among themselves, they expect the same atten 
tion and hospitality paid to them in return ; yet that is not tneir 
main object, for I have seen a number of instances in which a 
return was out of the question, where poverty would not admit 
of it, or distance of abode put it out of the power of the visiter 
to return the same civilities to his host : when white people are 
treated in this way, with the best entertainment the house 
affords, they may be sure it is nothing else than a mark of re 
spect paid to them, and that the attentions they receive do not 
proceed from any interested view. 



the management of their national affairs, the Indians 
display as much skill and dexterity, perhaps, as any 
people upon earth. When a political message is sent 
to them from a neighbouring nation, 1 they generally 
contrive, to send an answer so ambiguously worded, that it is 
difficult to come at their real meaning ; they conceive this to be 
the best way of getting rid of a proposal which they do not like, 
because those who sent them the message are for some time, at 
least, at a loss to comprehend the meaning, and not knowing 
whether the answer is favourable or unfavourable, their proceed 
ings are necessarily suspended until they can discover its true 
sense ; in this manner have operations been sometimes entirely 
prevented, and matters have remained in the same situation that 
they were in before. 

It may be supposed, perhaps, that such an artful manner of 
treating each other might be thought provoking, and cause jeal 
ousies and disputes among the different parties ; such is not, 
however, the case, as nothing insulting is ever contained in 
those messages ; and as offence is not meant, it is not taken. 
The Indians consider it on all sides as a kind of diplomatic 
proceeding, an exercise which tends to invigorate the mind, 
of which they are very fond. It gives them opportunities to 
reflect and think deeply on matters of importance, and of dis 
playing their genius, when they have found or discovered the 

1 " After the word " nation " insert "which they do not approve of." 1 


secret of an answer sent to them, or hit upon the true meaning 
of an ambiguous message. 

At the time of the Revolutionary war I witnessed a curious 
scene of .diplomatic manoeuvres between two great men of the 
Delaware nation, both of whom had in their time signalised 
themselves as brave and courageous men, and had acquired 
the character of two great war chiefs. The war that I speak 
of, which had but lately begun, had made it necessary for the 
Indians to consult their present and future safety. Captain 
White Eyes, of the Turtle tribe, who was placed at the head 
of his nation, had its welfare much at heart. He was in favour 
of their following the advice given them by the American Con 
gress, which was to remain neutral, and not to meddle in the 
quarrel between the Americans and the parent country. He 
advised his people, therefore, to remain in friendship with both 
sides, and not to take up arms against either, as it might bring 
them into trouble, and perhaps, in the end, effect their ruin. 

On the other hand, Captain Pipe, of the Wolf tribe, who re 
sided at the distance of fifteen miles, where he had his council 
fire, was of a different opinion, and leaned on the side of the 
British. He was an artful, ambitious man, yet not deficient in 
greatness of mind, as I have shewn in a preceding chapter. But 
his head at that time was full of the wrongs which the Indians 
had suffered from the Americans, from their first coming into 
the country ; his soul panted for revenge, and he was glad to 
seize the opportunity that now offered. He professed his readi 
ness to join in proper measures to save the nation, but not such 
measures as his antagonist proposed; what his real object was 
he did not openly declare, but privately endeavoured to coun 
teract all that was done and proposed by the other. White 
Eyes, however, was a sensible upright man, and never was defi 
cient in means to support his own measures, and extricate him 
self from the snares with which he was on all sides surrounded 
by Captain Pipe. Thus they went on for upwards of two years, 
Pipe working clandestinely, and keeping his spies continually 
on the watch upon the other, while White Eyes acted openly 
and publicly, as though he knew nothing of what was machi 
nating against him. 


At last, a circumstance took place which apparently justified 
Captain Pipe in the measures he wished to pursue. In March 
1778, a number of white people, of those whom we called Tories, 
among whom were M Kee, Eliott, Girty, 1 and several others, 
having escaped from Pittsburg, told the Indians wherever they 
came, "that they must arm and be off immediately, and kill all 
the Americans wherever they found them, for they had deter 
mined to destroy all the Indians, and possess themselves of their 
country." White Eyes, not believing what these men said, ad 
vised his people to remain quiet, for this report could not be 
true. Pipe, on the contrary, called his men together, and in a 
speech which he addressed to them, pronounced every man an 
enemy to his country who endeavoured to dissuade them from 
going out against the Americans, and said that all such ought 
to be put to death. Captain White Eyes was not disconcerted ; 
he immediately assembled his warriors, and told them " that if 
they meant in earnest to go out, as he observed some of them 
were preparing to do, they should not go without him. He had 
taken peace measures in order to save the nation from utter 
destruction. But if they believed that he was in the wrong, and 
gave more credit to vagabond fugitives, whom he knew to be 
such, than to himself, who was best acquainted with the real 
state of things ; if they had determined to follow their advice, 
and go out against the Americans, he would go out with them ; 
he would lead them on, place himself in the front, and be the 
first who should fall. They only had to determine on what 
they meant to do ; for his own mind was fully made up not to 
survive his nation, and he would not spend the remainder of a 
miserable life in bewailing the total destruction of a brave peo 
ple, who deserved a better fate." 

This spirited, and at the same time pathetic, speech of Cap 
tain White Eyes, made such an impression on the minds of the 

1 [Alexander McKee, Matthew Elliott, and Simon Girty, the first some time a 
British agent among the Indians, the second with a captain s commission from the 
commandant at Detroit, the third as brutal, depraved, and wicked a wretch as ever 
lived, deserted with a squad of soldiers from Fort Pitt, in March of 1778. This trio 
of renegade desperadoes, henceforth, in the capacity of emissaries of the British at 
Detroit (with their savage allies), wrought untold misery on the frontiers, even 
till the peace of 1795.] 


audience, that they unanimously declared that they would obey 
his orders, and listen to no person but himself, either white or 
of their own colour. Indeed, there was too much force, too 
much majesty in this address to be resisted; when this was 
reported to Pipe by his emissaries, he was absolutely con 
founded, and knew not what to do. A few days afterwards, the 
council of the Delaware nation received the most friendly and 
flattering messages from the commandant and Indian agent at 
Pittsburg, cautioning them, " not to listen to those worthless 
men who had ran off from them in the night, and to be assured 
of the steady friendship of the Government of the United 
States." Pipe was so put to the blush, and took this matter 
so much to heart, that he soon after threw off the mask, per 
mitted his men to go out and murder the Americans, and after 
wards went off with them to Sandusky, under the protection of 
the British Government. We have seen in a former chapter that 
he afterwards saw how impolitic his conduct had been, and prob 
ably wished" to retrace his steps, but it was too late. He had 
suffered himself to be misled by his passions, excited by the 
remembrance of former wrongs, and thus was betrayed into his 
injudicious conduct. Perhaps also his jealousy of Captain White 
Eyes, whose superiority his proud mind could not bear, did not 
in a small degree contribute to it. Pipe was certainly a great 
man, but White Eyes was, in my opinion, t;he greatest of the 
two. I was present when he made the speech which I have 
related, and never shall forget the impression it made upon me. 
Thus Indian politicians work and manage matters against 
each other without newspaper wrangles, abuse of character, per 
sonal quarrels, or open insults. Their ingenuity, when joined 
to a good cause, generally makes them come off victorious. In 
a bad cause, on the contrary, they sure 1 to meet with detection 
and defeat, as Captain Pipe, for his misfortune, sadly experienced. 

1 For " they sure " read " they are sure." 



are many persons who believe, from the labour 
that they see the Indian women perform, that they 
are in a manner treated as slaves. These labours, 
indeed, are hard, compared with the tasks that are im 
posed upon females in civilised society ; but they are no more 
than their fair share, under every consideration and due allowance, 
of the hardships attendant on savage life. Therefore they are not 
only voluntarily, but cheerfully submitted to ; and as women are 
not obliged to live with their husbands any longer than suits 
their pleasure or convenience, it cannot be supposed that they 
would submit to be loaded with unjust or unequal burdens. 

Marriages among the Indians are not, as with us, contracted 
for life ; it is understood on both sides that the parties are not to 
live together any longer than they shall be pleased with each 
other. The husband may put away his wife whenever he 
pleases, and the woman may in like manner abandon her hus 
band. Therefore the connexion is not attended with any vows, 
promises, or ceremonies of any kind. An Indian takes a wife as 
it were on trial, determined, however, in his own mind not to 
forsake her if she behaves well, and particularly if he has 
children by her. The woman, sensible of this, does on her 
part every thing in her power to please her husband, particu 
larly if he is a good hunter or trapper, capable of maintaining 
her by his skill and industry, and protecting her by his strength 
and courage. 

When a marriage takes place, the duties and labours incum- 


bent on each party are well known to both. It is understood 
that the husband is to build a house for them to dwell in, to find 
the necessary implements of husbandry, as axes, hoes, &c., to 
provide a canoe, and also dishes, bowls, and other necessary 
vessels for house-keeping. The woman generally has a kettle or 
two, and some other articles of kitchen furniture, which she 
brings with her. The husband, as master of the family, con 
siders himself bound to support it by his bodily exertions, as 
hunting, trapping, &c. ; the woman, as his help-mate, takes upon 
herself the labours of the field, and is far from considering them 
as more important than those to which her husband is subjected, 
being well satisfied that with his gun and traps he can maintain 
a family in any place where game is to be found ; nor do they 
think it any hardship imposed upon them ; for they themselves 
say, that while their field labour employs them at most six 
weeks in the year, that of the men continues the whole year 

When a couple is newly married, the husband (without saying 
a single word upon the subject) takes considerable pains to 
please his wife, and by repeated proofs of his skill and abilities 
in the art of hunting, to make her sensible that she can be 
happy with him, and that she will never want while they live 
together. At break of day he will be off with his gun, and often 
by breakfast time return home with a deer, turkey, or some 
other game. He endeavours to make it appear that it is in his 
power to bring provisions home whenever he pleases, and his 
wife, proud of having such a good hunter for her husband, does 
her utmost to serve and make herself agreeable to him. 

The work of the women is not hard or difficult. They are 
both able and willing to do it, and always perform it with 
cheerfulness. Mothers teach their daughters those duties which 
common sense would otherwise point out to them when grown 
up. Within doors, their labour is very trifling ; there is seldom 
more than one pot or kettle ^to attend to. There is no scrubbing 
of the house, and but little to wash, and that not often. Their 
principal occupations are to cut and fetch in the fire wood, till 
the ground, sow and reap the grain, and pound the corn in 
mortars for their pottage, and to make bread which they bake in 


the ashes. When going on a journey, or to hunting camps with 
their husbands, if they have no horses, they carry a pack on 
their backs which often appears heavier than it really is ; it gen 
erally consists of a blanket, a dressed deer skin for mocksens, a 
few articles of kitchen furniture, as a kettle, bowl, or dish, with 
spoons, and some bread, corn, salt, &c., for their nourishment. 
I have never known an Indian woman complain of the hardship 
of carrying this burden, which serves for their own comfort and 
support as well as of their husbands. 

The tilling of the ground at home, getting of the fire wood, 
and pounding of corn in mortars, is frequently done by female 
parties, much in the manner of those husking, quilting, and 
other frolics (as they are called), which are so common in 
some parts of the United States, particularly to the eastward. 
The labour is thus quickly and easily performed; when it is 
over, and sometimes in intervals, they sit down to enjoy them 
selves by feasting on some good victuals, prepared for them by 
the person or family for whom they work, and which the man 
has taken care to provide before hand from the woods ; for this 
is considered a principal part of the business, as there are gener 
ally more or less of the females assembled who have not, perhaps 
for a long time, tasted a morsel of meat, being either widows, or 
orphans, or otherwise in straitened circumstances. Even the 
chat which passes during their joint labours is highly diverting 
to them, and so they seek to be employed in this way as long as 
they can, by going round to all those in the village who have 
ground to till. 

When the harvest is in, which generally happens by the end 
of September, the women have little else to do than to prepare 
the daily victuals, and get fire wood, until the latter end of 
February or beginning of March, as the season is more or less 
backward, when they go to their sugar camps, where they 
extract sugar from the maple tree. The men having built 
or repaired their temporary cabin, and made all the troughs of 
various sizes, the women commence making sugar, while the 
men are looking out for meat, at this time generally fat bears, 
which are still in their winter quarters. When at home, they 
will occasionally assist their wives in gathering the sap, and 


watch the kettles in their absence, that the syrup may not boil 

A man who wishes his wife to be with him while he is out 
hunting in the woods, needs only tell her, that on such a day 
they will go to such a place, where he will hunt for a length of 
time, and she will be sure to have provisions and every thing 
else that is necessary in complete readiness, and well packed up 
to carry to the spot; for the man, as soon as he enters the 
woods, has to be looking out and about for game, and therefore 
cannot be encumbered with any burden ; after wounding a deer, 
he may have to pursue it for several miles, often running it 
fairly down. The woman, therefore, takes charge of the baggage, 
brings it to the place of encampment, and there, immediately 
enters on the duties of housekeeping, as if they were at home ; 
she moreover takes pains to dry as much meat as she can, that 
none may be lost ; she carefully puts the tallow up, assists in 
drying the skins, gathers as much wild hemp as possible for 
the purpose of making strings, carrying-bands, bags and other 
necessary articles, collects roots for dyeing; in short, does 
every thing in her power to leave no care to her husband but 
the important one of providing meat for the family. 

After all, the fatigue of the women is by no means to be com 
pared to that of the men. Their hard and difficult employments 
are periodical and of short duration, while their husband s 
labours are constant and severe in the extreme. Were a man 
to take upon himself a part of his wife s duty, in addition to his 
own, he must necessarily sink under the load, and of course his 
family must suffer with him. On his exertions as a hunter, 
their existence depends ; in order to be able to follow that rough 
employment with success, he must keep his limbs as supple as 
he can, he must avoid hard labour as much as possible, that his 
joints may not become stiffened, and that he may preserve the 
necessary strength and agility of body to enable him to pursue 
the chase, and bear the unavoidable hardships attendant on it ; 
for the fatigues of hunting wear out the body and constitution far 
more than manual labour. Neither creeks nor rivers, whether 
shallow or deep, frozen or free from ice, must be an obstacle 
to the hunter, when in pursuit of a wounded deer, bear, or other 


animal, as is often the case. Nor has he then leisure to think on 
the state of his body, and to consider whether his blood is not 
too much heated to plunge without danger into the cold stream, 
since the game he is in pursuit of is running off from him with 
full speed. Many dangerous accidents often befal him, both as 
a hunter and a warrior (for he is both), and are seldom unat 
tended with painful consequences, such as rheumatism, or con 
sumption of the lungs, for which the sweat-house, on which 
they so much depend, and to which they often resort for relief, 
especially after a fatiguing hunt or warlike excursion, is not 
always a sure preservative or an effectual remedy. 

The husband generally leaves the skins and peltry which he 
has procured by hunting to the care of his wife, who sells or bar 
ters them away to the best advantage for such necessaries as are 
wanted in the family ; not forgetting to supply her husband with 
what he stands in need of, who, when he receives it from her 
hands never fails to return her thanks in the kindest manner. If 
debts had been previously contracted, either by the woman, or 
by her and her husband jointly, or if a horse should be wanted, 
as much is laid aside as will be sufficient to pay the debts or pur 
chase the horse. 

When a woman has got in her harvest of corn, it is considered 
as belonging to her husband, who, if he has suffering friends, 
may give them as much of it as he pleases, without consulting 
his wife, or being afraid of her being displeased ; for she is in the 
firm belief that he is able to procure that article whenever it is 
wanted. The sugar which she makes out of the maple tree is 
also considered as belonging to her husband. 

There is nothing in an Indian s house or family without its 
particular owner. Every individual knows what belongs to him, 
from the horse or cow down to the dog, cat, kitten and little 
chicken. Parents make presents to their children, and they in 
return to their parents. A father will sometimes ask his wife 
or one of his children for the loan of his horse to go out a hunt 
ing. For a litter of kittens or brood of chickens, there are often 
as many different owners as there are individual animals. In 
purchasing a hen with her brood, one frequently has to deal for 
it with several children. Thus, while the principle of community 


of goods prevails in the state, the rights of property are acknowl 
edged among the members of a family. This is attended with a 
very good effect; for by this means every living creature is 
properly taken care of. It also promotes liberality among the 
children, which becomes a habit with them by the time they are 
grown up. 

An Indian loves to see his wife well clothed, which is a proof 
that he is fond of her; at least, it is so considered. While his 
wife is bartering the skins and peltry he has taken in his hunt, 
he will seat himself at some distance, to observe her choice, and 
how she and the traders agree together. When she finds an 
article which she thinks will suit or please her husband, she never 
fails to purchase it for him ; she tells him that it is her choice, 
and he is never dissatisfied. 

The more a man does for his wife the more he is esteemed, par 
ticularly by the women, who will say : "This man surely loves his 
wife." Some men at their leisure hours make bowls and ladles, 
which, when finished, are at their wives disposal. 

If a sick or pregnant woman longs for any article of food, be 
it what it may, and however difficult to be procured, the husband 
immediately sets out to endeavour to get it. I have known a 
man to go forty or fifty miles for a mess of cranberries to satisfy 
his wife s longing. In the year 1762 I was witness to a remark 
able instance of the disposition of Indians to indulge their wives. 
There was a famine in the land, and a sick Indian woman ex 
pressed a great desire for a mess of Indian corn. Her husband 
having heard that a trader at Lower Sandusky had a little, set 
off on horseback for that place, one hundred miles distant, and 
returned with as much corn as filled the crown of his hat, for 
which he gave his horse in exchange, and came home on foot, 
bringing his saddle back with him. Squirrels, ducks, and other 
like delicacies, when most difficult to be obtained, are what 
women in the first stage of their pregnancy generally long for. 
The husband in every such case will go out and spare no pains 
nor trouble until he has procured what is wanted. 

In other cases, the men and their wives do not in general 
trouble themselves with each other s business ; but the wife, 
knowing that the father is very fond of his children, is always 


prepared to tell him some diverting anecdote of one or the other 
of them, especially if he has been absent for some time. 

It very seldom happens that a man condescends to quarrel 
with his wife, or abuse her, though she has given him just cause. 
In such a case the man, without replying, or saying a single 
word, will take his gun and go into the woods, and remain there 
a week or perhaps a fortnight, living on the meat he has killed, 
before he returns home again : well knowing that he cannot in 
flict a greater punishment on his wife for her conduct to him than 
by absenting himself for a while ; for she is not only kept in 
suspense, uncertain whether he will return again, but is soon 
reported as a bad and quarrelsome woman ; for, as on those 
occasions, the man does not tell his wife on what day or at what 
time he will be back again, which he otherwise, when they are 
on good terms, never neglects to do, she is at once put to shame 
by her neighbours, who soon suspecting something, do not fail 
to put such questions to her, as she either cannot, or is ashamed 
to answer. When he at length does return, she endeavours to 
let him see by her attentions, that she has repented, though 
neither speak to each other a single word on the subject of what 
has passed. And as his children, if he has any, will on his re 
turn hang about him and soothe him with their caresses, he is, 
on their account, ready to forgive, or at least to say nothing un 
pleasant to their mother. She has, however, received by this a 
solemn warning, and must take care how she behaves in future, 
lest the next time her husband should stay away altogether and 
take another wife. It is very probable, that if at this time they 
had had no children, he would have left her, but then he would 
have taken his property with him at the same time. 

On the return of an Indian from a journey, or long absence, 
he will, on entering the house, say, " I am returned ! " to which 
his wife will reply, 1 " I rejoice ! " and having cast his eyes around, 
he will enquire, whether all the children are well, when being 
answered in the affirmative, he replies, " I am glad ! " which for 
the present is all the conversation that passes between them ; nor 
does he relate anything at this present time that occurred on his 

i F or reply " read " answer" 


journey, but holds himself in readiness to partake of the nour 
ishment which his wife is preparing for him. After a while, 
when the men of the village have assembled at his house, his 
wife, with the rest, hears his story at full length. 

Marriages are proposed and concluded in different ways. The 
parents on both sides, having observed an attachment between 
two young persons, negotiate for them. This generally com 
mences from the house where the bridegroom lives, whose 
mother is the negotiatrix for him, and begins her duties by 
taking a good leg of venison, or bear s meat, or something else 
of the same kind, to the house where the bride dwells, not for 
getting to mention, that her son has killed it : in return for this 
the mother of the bride, if she otherwise approves of the match, 
which she well understands by the presents to be intended, will 
prepare a good dish of victuals, the produce of the labour of 
woman, such as beans, Indian corn, or the like, and then taking 
it to the house where the bridegroom lives, will say, " This is 
the produce of my daughter s field ; and she also prepared it." If 
afterwards the mothers of the parties are enabled to tell the good 
news to each other, that the young people have pronounced that 
which was sent them very good, the bargain is struck. It is as 
much as if the young man had said to the girl, " I am able to 
provide you at all times with meat to eat ! " and she had replied, 
" and such good victuals from the field, you shall have from 
me! " From this time not only presents of this kind are con 
tinued on both sides, but articles of clothing are presented to the 
parents by each party, by way of return for what they have re 
ceived, of which the young people always have a share. The v 
friendship between the two families daily increasing, they do 
their domestic and field work jointly, and when the young peo 
ple have agreed to live together, the parents supply them with 
necessaries, such as a kettle, dishes or bowls, and also what is 
required for the kitchen, and with axes, hoes, &c. to work in 

\ The men who have no parents to negotiate for them, or 

otherwise choose to manage the matter for themselves, have 

two simple ways of attaining their object. The first is : by 

stepping up to the woman whom they wish to marry, saying : 



" If you are willing I will take you as wife ! " when if she 
answer in the affirmative, she either goes with him immediately, 
or meets him at an appointed time and place. 

The other mode of .celebrating marriage will, appear from the 
following anecdote. 

An aged Indian, who for many years had spent much of his 
time among the white people, both in Pennsylvania and New 
Jersey, one day about the year 1770 observed, that the Indians 
had not only a much easier way of getting a wife than the 
whites, but were also more certain of getting a good one ; 
" For," (said he in his broken English,) " White man court, 
court, may be one whole year ! may be two year before he 
marry ! well ! may be then got very good wife but may be 
not! may be very cross ! Well now, suppose cross ! scold so 
soon as get awake in the morning ! scold all day ! scold until 
sleep! all one; he must keep him! 1 White people have law 
forbidding throwing away wife, be he ever so cross ! must keep 
him always ! Well ! how does Indian do ? Indian when he 
see industrious Squaw, which he like, he go to him, place his 
two forefingers close aside each other, make two look like one 
look Squaw in the face see him smile which is all one he 
say, Yes ! so he take him home no danger he be cross ! no ! 
no ! Squaw know too well what Indian do if he cross ! throw 
him away and take another ! Squaw love to eat meat ! no hus 
band ! no meat ! Squaw do every thing to please husband ! he 
do the same to please Squaw ! live happy ! " 

1 The pronouns in the Indian language have no feminine gender. 



1HERE is no nation in the world who pay greater 
respect to old age than the American Indians. From 
their infancy they are taught to be kind and attentive 
to aged persons, and never to let them suffer for want 
of necessaries or comforts. The parents spare no pains to im 
press upon the minds of their children the conviction that they 
would draw down upon themselves the anger of the Great 
Spirit, were they to neglect those whom, in his goodness, he 
had permitted to attain such an advanced age, whom he had 
protected with his almighty power through all the perils and 
dangers of life, while so many had perished by wars, accidents, 
and sickness in various forms, by the incantations of the wizard, 
or the stroke of the murderer, and not a few by the consequences 
of their own imprudent conduct. 

It is a sacred principle among the Indians, and one of those 
moral and religious truths which they have always before their 
eyes, that the Great Spirit who created them, and provided them 
so abundantly with the means of subsistence, made it the duty 
of parents to maintain and take care of their children until they 
should be able to provide for themselves, and that having while 
weak and helpless received the benefits of maintenance, educa 
tion, and protection, they are bound to repay them by a similar 
care of those who are labouring under the infirmities of old age, 
and are no longer able to supply their own wants. 

Thus, a strong feeling of gratitude towards their elders, in 
culcated and cherished from their earliest infancy, is the solid 



foundation on which rests that respect for old age for which 
Indians are so remarkable, and it is further supported by the 
well-founded hope of receiving the like succours and attentions 
in their turn, when the heavy hand of time shall have reduced 
them to the same helpless situation which they now commiser 
ate in others, and seek by every means in their power to render 
more tolerable. Hence, they do not confine themselves to acts ^ 
of absolute necessity ; it is not enough for them that the old are 
not suffered to starve with hunger, or perish with cold, but they 
must be made as much as possible to share in the pleasures and 
comforts of life. It is, indeed, a moving spectacle to see the 
tender and delicate attentions which, on every occasion, they 
lavish upon aged and decrepid persons. When going out a 
hunting, they will put them on a horse or in a canoe, and take 
them into the woods to their hunting ground, in order to revive 
their spirits by making them enjoy the sight of a sport in which 
they can no longer participate. They place them in particular 
situations, where they are sure that the game they are in pursuit 
of will pass by, taking proper measures at the same time to pre 
vent its escape, so that their aged parents and friends may, at 
least, as our sportsmen call it, be in at the death. Nor is this all ; 
the hoary veterans must also enjoy the honours of the chase ; 
when the animal, thus surrounded, is come within reach of their 
guns, when every possibility of escape is precluded, by the 
woods all around being set on fire, they all, young and old, fire 
together, so that it is difficult to decide 1 whose ball it was that 
brought the animal to the ground. But they never are at a loss 
to decide, and always give it in favour of the oldest man 2 in the 
party. So, when the young people have discovered a place 
where the bears have their haunts, or have resorted to for the 
winter, they frequently take with them to the spot, such of the 
old men as are yet able to walk or ride, where they not only 
have an opportunity of witnessing the sport, but receive their 
full share of the meat and oil. 

At home the old are as well treated and taken care of as if 

1 For "decide" read "say." 

2 For "man" read "men" 


they were favourite children. They are cherished and even 
caressed ; indulged in health and nursed in sickness ; and all 
their wishes and wants are anticipated. Their company is 
sought by the young, to whom their conversation is considered 
an honour. Their advice is asked on all occasions, their words 
are listened to as oracles, and their occasional garrulity, nay, 
even the second childhood often attendant on extreme old age, 
is never with Indians a subject of ridicule, or laughter. Respect, 
gratitude, and love are too predominant in their minds to permit 
any degrading idea to mix itself with these truly honourable and 
generous feelings. 

On every occasion, and in every situation through life, age 
takes the lead among the Indians. Even little boys, when 
going on parties of pleasure, were it only to catch butterflies, 
strictly adhere to this rule, and submit to the direction of the 
oldest in their company, who is their chief, leader and spokes 
man ; if they are accosted on the way by any person, and asked 
whither they are going, or any other question, no one will pre 
sume to answer but their speaker. The same rule is observed 
when they are grown up, and in no case whatever will one of 
a. party, club or meeting, attempt to assume authority over the 
leader, or even to set him right if he should mistake the road or 
take a wrong course; much less will anyone contradict what 
he says, unless his opinion should be particularly asked, in 
which case, and no other, he will give his advice, but with 
great modesty and diffidence. 

And yet there have been travellers who have ventured to 
assert that old people among the Indians are not only neglected 
and suffered to perish for want, but that they are even, when no 
longer able to take care of themselves, put out of tlie way of all 
trouble. I am free to declare, that among all the Indian nations 
that I have become acquainted with, if any one should kill an 
old man or woman for no other cause than that of having 
become useless or burdensome to society, it would be consid 
ered as an unpardonable crime, the general indignation would 
be excited, and the murderer instantly put to death. I cannot 
conceive any act that would produce such an universal horror 
and detestation, such is the veneration which is everywhere 
felt for old age. 


Indeed, I have had sufficient reason to be convinced that this 
principle, excellent as it is in itself, is 1 even carried too far by 
the Indians, and that not a little inconvenience is occasioned by 
it. A few instances will make this better understood than any 
explanations that I could give. 

In the year 1765, the great body of Christian Indians, after 
having remained sixteen months at and near Philadelphia, were 
permitted to return to their own country, peace having been con 
cluded with the Indian nations, who still continued at war, not 
withstanding the pacification between the European powers. 
They resolved to open a path through the wilderness from the 
frontier settlements beyond the Blue Mountains, directly to Wyo 
ming on the Susquehannah. This path they laid off and cut as 
they proceeded, two, three or four miles at a time, according to 
the nature of the ground and the convenience of water, bringing 
up their baggage by making two or more trips, as they had no 
horses to carry it. Having arrived at the great Pine Swamp, 
then supposed to be about fourteen miles wide, it was found 
very difficult to cut a passage on account of the thickets and 
of the great number of fallen trees which incumbered it ; they 
were, besides, unacquainted with that part of the country, An 
old Indian, 2 however, took the lead, and undertook to be their 
guide. After a tedious march of near two weeks, attended with 
much labour, he brought them across the Swamp, to the large 
creek which borders upon it on the opposite side. There they 
found a very steep mountain, through which no passage could 
be found either above or below. Discouraged at the prospect 
before them, they now saw no alternative but to return the same 
way they had come, and take the route by Fort Allen 3 to Nes- 
copeck, and so up the Susquehannah to Wyoming, a distance of 
nearly one hundred miles round. In this difficulty, it fortunately 
struck their Missionary, Mr. Zeisberger, that a certain Indian 
named David, who was one of their party and had followed 

1 Between "is" and "even" insert "sometimes. 1 

2 For " an old Indian " read " several old men." 

3 [The fort, built by Franklin in the early winter of 1756, stood on the site of 
Weissport, on the left bank of the Lehigh, in Carbon County, Penna. The well of 
the fort alone remains to mark its site.] 


them all the way, was acquainted with that part of the coun 
try, and might, perhaps, be able to point out to them some better 
and shorter road. He soon found that he was not mistaken. 
David was perfectly acquainted with the country, and knew a 
good road, through which the party might easily pass, but not 
having been questioned on the subject, had hitherto kept silence, 
and followed with the rest, though he knew all the while they 
were going wrong. A dialogue then took place between him 
and the Missionary. 

ZEISB. David ! You are, I believe, acquainted with this coun 
try ; perhaps you know a better road 1 and a shorter one than 
that which we are going to take. 

DAVID. Yes, I do ; there is such a road, 1 which we may easily 
get through, and have a much shorter distance to travel than by 
that which is proposed ; I am sure of it. 

ZEISB. What; David! we were all going wrong, and yet you 
are with us ? 

DAVID. Yes, t is so. 

ZEISB. And yet you said nothing, and followed with the rest 
as if all had been right ! 

DAVID. Yes ; the guides are somewhat older than myself; 
they took the lead, and never asked me whether I had any 
knowledge of the country. If they had enquired, I would have 
told them. 

ZEISB. Will you now tell them ? 

DAVID. No, indeed ; unless they ask me. It does not become 
an Indian to instruct his elders. 

The question was then asked him at the instigation of Mr. 
Zeisberger, when he immediately told them that they must all 
return to a certain spot, six miles back, and then direct their 
course more to the north-east, which would bring them to a 
gap in the mountain, where they could pass through with great 
ease. They did so, and he followed them, and being now de 
sired to take the lead, he did it, and brought them to the very 
spot he had described, and from thence led them all the way to 
Wyoming. This difficult part of the road, in the swamp, has 

1 For "road" read "course." 


been since called David s path, and the state road now passes 
through it. 1 

This anecdote was told me by Mr. Zeisberger himself, whom 
I have never known to say anything that was not strictly true. 
I therefore give it full credit; the more so, as I have myself 
witnessed two similar instances, with the relation of which I 
shall conclude this chapter. 

The first happened in the year 1/91. I had parted by acci 
dent from the company I was with, and lost my way in the 
woods. I had with me an Indian lad about twelve or thirteen 
years of age, and wished him to take the lead, to which, how 
ever, he would not consent. We were at last found by our party, 
who had gone in search of us. I complained to them of the boy, 
for not doing what I had bidden him ; but they answered, " that 
he had done right, and that it did not become a boy to walk 
before a man and be his leader." 

The second occurrence of the like kind, took place in the year 
1798. I was on a journey with two young Indians, from Upper 
Canada to the Muskingum, round the head of Lake Erie. 2 Neither 
of these Indians having ever been in the country we were going 
to, they received their instructions from others before their de 
parture. The leader, however, whose name was Leonhard, having 
once mistaken a path, we travelled several miles in a wrong direc 
tion, until, at last, I discovered the mistake, by our having the 
Owl creek to our left, when we ought to have had it to our 
right. I observed this to Christian, the young Indian in the 
rear, who coinciding with me in opinion, I desired him to run 
forward to Leonhard, who was far ahead of us, and to bring him 

1 [The road from Easton, via Ross Common and the Pocono, to Wilkes-Barre, form 
erly called the Wilkes-Barre turnpike.] 

2 [Mr. Heckewelder had been despatched by the Mission Board at Bethlehem to 
Fairfield, on the Retrenche, (Thames,) in Upper Canada, where the Moravian Indians 
settled in 1792, to advise with them and their teachers, concerning a return to the 
valley of the Tuscarawas, in which the survey of a grant of 12,000 acres of land, 
made by Congress, had recently been completed. Pursuant to his instructions, he 
proceeded from Fairfield to the Tuscarawas, to make the necessary preparations for 
a colony that was to follow in the ensuing autumn, and re-founded Gnadenhutten. 
The village of Goshen, seven miles higher up the river, was built in October, on the 
arrival of David Zeisberger and the expected colony from the Retrenche.] 


back ; but the lad answered that he could not do it. I asked him 
the reason. " It is," said he, " because I am younger than he is." 
" Will you then," replied I, " take my message to him, and tell 
him that / desire him to return to this place, where I will wait 
for him ?" The young man immediately consented, went forward 
to Leonhard, and brought him back, on which we took an east 
ward course through the wood to the Owl creek, and, after cross 
ing it, fell into our right path. 



|HE Indians are proud but. not vain; they consider 
vanity as degrading and unworthy the character of a 
man. The hunter never boasts of his skill or strength, 
nor the warrior of his prowess. It is noffight. they 
say, that one should value himself too much for an action which 
another may perform as well as himself, and when a man extols 
his own deeds, it seems as if he doubted his own capability to 
do the like again when he pleased. Therefore, they prefer in all 
cases to let their actions speak for themselves. The skins and 
peltry which the hunter brings home, the deer s horns on the 
roof of his cabin, the horses, furniture and other property that 
he possesses, his apparel and that of his family, the visits with 
which he is honored by the first and best men among his nation ; 
all these things show what he is and what he has done, and with 
this he rests satisfied. 

So with the warrior; it is enough for him that he is known to 
be a man of spirit and courage by the scalps and prisoners that he 
brings home ; he never is seen going about boasting of his war 
like exploits, and when questioned on the subject, he makes his 
answer as short as possible. Even when he is entering a town 
with his prisoners and scalps, he does not stare about to see 
whether the people are looking at him, but walks his usual 
steady pace and marches straight forward without appearing to 
see any body. When at some of their particular festivals, every 
warrior is called upon to relate his feats of arms, they make it a 
point to be as brief as possible, leaving it to those who have done 



but little, to swell their actions into importance, and give them 
selves credit for what they have done. I cannot illustrate this 
subject better than by a few anecdotes. 

In the year 1779, two war chiefs, the one a young man of the 
Shawano tribe, and the other an old warrior of the Wyandots, 
living near Detroit, much celebrated for his great actions, but 
who during the whole of the Revolutionary war, could not be 
persuaded to take the field against the Americans, met acci 
dentally at my house on Muskingum, where they had separately 
come to pay me a friendly visit. The Shawano (whose nation, 
by the bye, are noted for much talk,) entered upon the subject 
of war, and with much earnestness in words and gestures, related 
the actions he had been engaged in, showing at the same time 
on his arm the mark of a bullet wound. During all this time, 
the Wyandot, smoking his pipe, listened with great attention and 
apparent surprise ; and having afterwards to answer, according 
to custom, by relating what he had done, he laid down his pipe, 
and deliberately drawing off his clothes, except the breech-cloth, 
rose up and said : " I have been in upwards of twenty engage 
ments with the enemy and fought with the French against the 
English ; I have warred against the southern nations, and my 
body shows that I have been struck and wounded by nine balls. 
These two wounds I received at the same moment, from two 
Cherokees, who, seeing me fall, rested their guns against a tree, 
and ran up with their tomahawks to dispatch me, and take off 
my scalp. With the aid of the Great Spirit I jumped up, just at 
the moment when they were about to give me the stroke. I 
struck them and they both fell at my feet. I took their scalps 
and returned home." Thus this grave and respectable veteran 
gave a lesson to the young Shawano, which, if he well under 
stood, he, no doubt, ever after remembered ; for in a few words, 
and in less than five minutes, he showed him at once the con 
trast between great actions briefly and modestly told, and every 
day occurrences related and dwelt on with pompous minuteness. 
This contrast, indeed, was particularly striking, the more so as 
the modest warrior did not seem to enjoy his triumph, nor to be 
even conscious of the accession to his fame which must result 
from the publicity of the account which he had given. As both 


parties spoke the Shawano language, I well understood every 
thing they said, and I paid the most particular attention to their 
discourse, which was of itself sufficiently interesting. 
r This passion of the Indians, which I have called pride, but 
which might, perhaps, be better denominated high-mindedness, 
is generally combined with a great sense of honour, and not sel 
dom produces actions of the most heroic kind. I am now going 
to relate an instance of this honourable pride, which I have also 
witnessed. An Indian of the Lenape nation, who was considered 
as a very dangerous person, and was much dreaded on that ac 
count, had publicly declared that as soon as another Indian, who 
was then gone to Sandusky, should return from thence, he would 
certainly kill him. This dangerous Indian called in one day at 
my house on the Muskingum to ask me for some tobacco. 
While this unwelcome guest was smoking his pipe by my fire, 
behold ! the other Indian whom he had threatened to kill, and 
who at that moment had just arrived, also entered the house. I 
was much frightened, as I feared the bad Indian would take that 
opportunity to carry his threat into execution, and that my house 
would be made the scene of a horrid murder. I walked to the 
door, in order not to witness a crime that I could not prevent, 
when to my great astonishment I heard the Indian whom I 
thought in danger, address the other in these words : " Uncle, 
you have threatened to kill me you have declared that you 
would do it the first time we should meet. Now I am here, and 
we are together. Am I to take it for granted that you are in 
earnest, and that you are really determined to take my life as 
you have declared ? Am I now to consider you as my avowed 
enemy, and in order to secure my own life against your murder 
ous designs, to be the first to strike you and embrue my hands 
in your blood ? I will not, I cannot do it. Your heart is bad, 
it is true, but still you appear to be a generous foe, for you gave 
me notice of what you intended to do ; you have put me on my 
guard, and did not attempt to assassinate me by surprise ; I, 
therefore, will spare you until you lift up your arm to strike, and 
then, uncle, it will be seen which of us shall fall ! " The mur 
derer was thunderstruck, and without replying a word, slunk off 
and left the house. 


The anecdote with which I am going to conclude this chapter, 
will display an act of heroism produced by this elevation of mind 
which I have called pride, which, perhaps, may have been 
equalled, but, I dare say, was hardly ever surpassed In the 
spring of the year 1782, the war chief of the Wyandots of Lower 
Sandusky sent a white prisoner (a young man whom he had 
taken at Fort M Intosh) as a present to another chief, who was 
called the Half-king of Upper Sandusky, 1 for the purpose of 
being adopted into his family, in the place of one of his sons, 
who had been killed the preceding year, while at war with the 
people on the Ohio. The prisoner arrived, and was presented 
to the Half-king s wife, but she refused to receive him, which, 
according to the Indian rule, was, in fact, a sentence of death. 
The young man was, therefore, taken away, for the purpose of 
being tortured and burnt on the pile. While the dreadful prepa 
rations were making near the village, the unhappy victim being 
already tied to the stake, and the Indians arriving from all quar 
ters to join in the cruel act or to witness it, two English traders, 
Messrs. Anmdcl and Robbins (I delight in making this honourable 
mention of their names), shocked at the idea of the cruelties 
which were about to be perpetrated, and moved by feelings of 
pit}- and humanity, resolved to unite their exertions to endeavour 
to save the prisoner s life by offering a ransom to the war chiefj 
which he, however refused, because, said he, it was an established 
rule among them, that when a prisoner who had been given as 
a present, was refused adoption, he was irrevocably doomed to 
the stake, and it was not in the power of any one to save his life. 
Besides, added he. the numerous war captains who were on the 

\Vyaniot village of Upper Sandasky was three miles in a south-easterly 
direction from the site of the present town of Upper Sandusky, the county-seat of 
\Yyacdot County, Ohio. Lower Sandusky, a trading-post and Wyandot town, was 
situated a: the head of navigation on the Sandusky. Fremont^ the county-seat of 
Sandusky County, marks its sire. Here the Moravian missionaries and their families 
were most hospitably entertained by Arondel and Robbins for upwards of three 
weeks, while awaiting the arrival of boats from Detroit, on which they were to be 
taken as prisoners of war to that post. It was through British influence that the 
Mission on the Muskingum had been overthrown in the early autumn of 1781, and 
that its seat was transferred to the Sandusky. Fort Mclntosh stood on the present 
town of Beaver, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. It was erected in October of 1778 
by General Mclntosh, then in command of the Western Department.] 


spot, had it in charge to see the sentence carried into execution. 
The two generous Englishmen, however, were not discouraged, 
and determined to try a last effort. They well knew what effects 
the high-minded pride of an Indian was capable of producing, 
and to this strong and noble passion they directed their attacks : 
" But," said they, in reply to the answer which the chief had 
made them, " among all those chiefs whom you have mentioned, 
there is none who equals you in greatness ; you are considered 
not only as the greatest and bravest, but as the best man in the 
nation." " Do you really believe what you say?" said at once 
the Indian, looking them full in the face. " Indeed, we do." 
Then, without saying another word, he blackened himself, and 
taking his knife and tomahawk in his hand, made his way 
through the crowd to the unhappy victim, crying out with a loud 
voice : " What have you to do with my prisoner ? " and at once 
cutting the cords with which he was tied, took him to his house 
which was near Mr. Arundel s, whence he was forthwith secured 
and carried off by safe hands to Detroit, where 1 the commandant, 
being informed of the transaction, sent him by water to Niagara, 
where he was soon afterwards liberated. The Indians who wit 
nessed this act, said that it was truly heroic ; they were so con 
founded by the unexpected conduct of this chief, and by his 
manly and resolute appearance, that they had not time to reflect 
upon what they should do, and before their astonishment was 
well over, the prisoner was out of their reach. 

1 For " where" read " whence" 



is a fixed principle with the Indians, that evil cannot 
come out of good, that no friend will injure a friend, 
and, therefore, that whoever wrongs or does harm to 
another, is his ENEMY. As it is with individuals, so it 
is with nations, tribes, and other independent associations of 
men. If they commit murder on another people, encroach on 
their lands, by making it a practice to come within their bounds 
and take the game from them, if they rob or steal from their 
hunting camps, or, in short, are guilty of any act of unjust 
aggression, they cannot be considered otherwise than as ENE 
MIES ; they are declared to be such, and the aggrieved nation 
think themselves justifiable in punishing them. If murder has 
been perpetrated, revenge is taken in the same way. If a lesser 
injury has been done, a message is sent to the chief of the 
nation to which the wrong-doers belong, to enquire whether 
the act complained of was authorised, if not to give them warn 
ing not to permit the like thing to be done again. If theft or 
some other like offence has been committed, restitution is at the 
same time demanded, or such reparation as the case admits of, 
and the chiefs are desired to forbid their "young people" to do 
so any more, or that they will have to abide by the consequence. 
There are tribes among the Indians, who claim the exclusive 
right of hunting within certain bounds, and will not suffer others 
to intrude and take their game from them, as they call it ; and 
there have been instances, when such intruders, being found 
trespassing after a fair warning, have had their ears and noses 
cut off, and have been sent home to tell their chiefs that the 
next time they came again, they should be sent home without 
their scalps. While the Christian Indians of the Lenape nation 


were settled for a few years on the land of the Chippeways 
beyond Detroit, where they had taken refuge and were per 
mitted to remain for their safety ; though the Chippeways 
professed reverence for them, and called them Grandfather, 
yet they were continually complaining of their killing their 
game. They had no objection to their tilling the ground, but 
every deer, racoon, or other animal which they killed or took ; 
was a cause of displeasure to their hosts ; and in consequence 
of that, they pressed them so often to remove from their lands, 
that they at last went off. 

When the Indians have determined to take revenge for a mur 
der committed by another nation, they generally endeavour to 
make at once a bold stroke, so as to strike their enemies with 
terror ; for which purpose, they penetrate into the hostile 
country as far as they can without being discovered, and when 
they have made their stroke, they leave a war club near the 
body of the person murdered, and make off as quick as possi 
ble. This war club is purposely left that the enemy may know 
to what nation the act is to be ascribed, and that they may 
not wreak their vengeance on an innocent tribe. It is meant 
also to let them know that unless they take measures to dis 
cover and punish the author of the original aggression, this 
instrument will be the means of revenging the injury, or, in 
other words, war will be forthwith declared against them. 

i If the supposed enemy is peaceably inclined, he will in such 
case send a deputation to the aggrieved nation, with a suitable 
apology. In general the chief sends word, that the act com 
plained of was committed without his knowledge, by some of 
" his foolish young men ; " that it was altogether unauthorised and 
unwarranted ; that it was highly reprobated by himself and his 
council, and that he would be sorry that on that account a breach 
should be made between the two nations, but, on the contrary, 
wishes for peace ; that he is willing to make reparation for the 
offence by condoling with the relations of the person slain and 
otherwise satisfying them. Such an offer is generally accepted, 
and in this manner all differences are adjusted between the parties, 
and they are friends again as they were before. But should the 
offending nation refuse to apologise and sue for peace, war is then 
immediately declared and is carried on with the greatest vigour. 



^URAGE, art, and circumspection are the essential 
and indispensable qualifications of an Indian warrior. 
When war is once begun, each one strives to excel 
in displaying them, by stealing upon his enemy una 
wares, and deceiving and surprising him in various ways. On 
drawing near to an enemy s country, they endeavour as much as 
possible to conceal their tracks ; sometimes they scatter them 
selves, marching at proper distances from each other for a whole 
day and more, meeting, however, again at night, when they 
keep a watch; at other times they march in what is called 
Indian file, one man behind the other, treading carefully in each 
other s steps, so that their number may not be ascertained by 
the prints of their feet. The nearer they suppose themselves to 
be to the enemy, the more attentive they are to choosing hard, 
stony, and rocky ground, on which human footsteps leave no 
impression ; soft, marshy and grassy soils are particularly 
avoided, as in the former the prints of the feet would be easily 
discovered, and in the latter the appearance of the grass having 
been trodden upon might lead to detection ; for if the grass or 
weeds are only bent, and have the least mark of having been 
walked upon, it will be almost certainly perceiveS, in which the 
sharpness and quickness of the Indians sigjtf is truly astonishing. 
In some instances they deceive theiivehemies by imitating the 
cries or calls of some animal, such- as the fawn, or turkey. They 
do this so admirably well, that they even draw the dam of the 
one and the mate of the other to the spot to which they want to 
come. In this manner they often succeed in decoying the ene- 
12 177 


mies to the place where they are lying in ambush, or get an 
opportunity of surrounding them. Such stratagems, however, 
cannot be resorted to in all seasons ; with the turkey, it only 
answers in the spring, and with the fawn s dam until about mid 
summer. In the same manner, when scattered about in the 
woods, they easily find each other by imitating the song of some 
birds, such as the quail and the rook, and at evening and morn 
ing, and particularly in the night, the cry of the owl. By this 
means they all join each other, though not at the same time, 
as they are not, perhaps, all within hearing ; but the cry of the 
owl is repeated from time to time until they are all assembled. 

It is certain that the Indians, by the prints of the feet and by 
other marks and signs perceivable only to themselves, can read 
ily discover, not only that men have passed through a particular 
path or line of march, but they can discriminate to what partic 
ular nation those men belong, and whether they are their friends 
or their enemies. They also sometimes make discoveries by ex 
amining obscure places, and by that means get informed of an 
enemy s design. Nay, there are those among them who pretend 
to be able to discriminate among various marks of human foot 
steps the different nations of those to whom they respectively 
belong. I shall not undertake to assert thus far, but I shall 
relate an anecdote, the truth of which I firmly believe, in proof 
of their extraordinary sagacity in this respect. 

In the beginning of the summer of the year 1755, a most atro 
cious and shocking murder was unexpectedly committed by a 
party of Indians, on fourteen white settlers within five miles of 
Shamokin. 1 The surviving whites, in their rage, determined to 
take their revenge by murdering a Delaware Indian who hap 
pened to be in those parts and was far from thinking himself in 
any danger. He was a great friend to the whites, was loved and 
esteemed by them, and in testimony of their regard, had received 
from them the name of Duke Holland? by which he was gener- 

1 [On the 1 8th October, 1755, a party of Indians fell upon the settlers on the Big 
Mahanoy, (now Penn s Creek, in Union County, Penna.,) killed and carried oft" 
twenty-five persons, and burned and destroyed all the buildings and improvements. 
Colonial Records, vol. 6, p. 766.] 

2 For "Duke Holland 1 1 read "Luke Holland;" the same where the name again 


ally known. This Indian, satisfied that his nation was incapable 
of committing such a foul murder in a time of profound peace, 
told the enraged settlers, that he was sure that the Delawares 
were not in any manner concerned in it, and that it was the act 
of some wicked Mingoes or Iroquois, whose custom it was to 
involve other nations in wars with each other, by clandestinely 
committing murders, so that they might be laid to the charge of 
others than themselves. But all his representations were vain ; 
he could not convince exasperated men whose minds were fully 
bent upon revenge. At last, he offered that if they would give 
him a party to accompany him, he would go with them in quest 
of the murderers, and was sure he could discover them by the 
prints of their feet and other marks well known to him, by which 
he would convince them that the real perpetrators of the crime 
belonged to the Six Nations. His proposal was accepted, he 
marched at the head of a party of whites and led them into the 
tracks. They soon found themselves in the most rocky parts of 
a mountain, where not one of those who accompanied him was 
able to discover a single track, nor would they believe that man 
had ever trodden upon this ground, as they had to jump over a 
number of crevices between the rocks, and in some instances to 
crawl over them. Now they began to believe that the Indian 
had led them across those rugged mountains in order to give 
the enemy time to escape, and threatened him with instant death 
the moment they should be fully convinced of the fraud. The 
Indian, true to his promise, would take pains to make them per 
ceive that an enemy had passed along the places through which 
he was leading them ; here he would shew them that the moss 
on the rock had been trodden down by the weight of an human 
foot, there that it had been torn and dragged forward from its 
place : further he would point out to them that pebbles or small 
stones on the rocks had been removed from their beds by the 
foot hitting against them, that dry sticks by being trodden upon 
were broken, and even that in a particular place, an Indian s blan 
ket had dragged over the rocks, and removed or loosened the 
leaves lying there, so that they lay no more flat, as in other 
places ; all which the Indian could perceive as he walked along, 
without even stopping. At last arriving at the foot of the moun- 


tain on soft ground, where the tracks were deep, he found out that 
the enemy were eight in number, and from the freshness of the 
footprints, he concluded that they must be encamped at no great 
distance. This proved to be the exact truth, for, after gaining 
the eminence on the other side of the valley, the Indians were 
seen encamped, some having already laid down to sleep, while 
others were drawing off their leggings 1 for the same purpose, 
and the scalps they had taken were hanging up to dry. " See ! " 
said Duke Holland to his astonished companions, "there is the 
enemy ! not of my nation, but Mingoes, as I truly told you. They 
are in our power; in less than half an hour they will all be 
fast asleep. We need not fire a gun, but go up and tomahawk 
them. We are nearly two to one and need apprehend no danger. 
Come on, and you will now have your full revenge ! " But the 
whites, overcome with fear, did not choose to follow the Indian s 
advice, and urged him to take them back by the nearest and 
best way, which he did, and when they arrived at home late at 
night, they reported the number of the Iroquois to have been so 
great, that they durst not venture to attack them. 

This account is faithfully given as I received it from Duke Plot- 
land himself, and took it down in writing at the time. I had 
been acquainted with this Indian for upwards of twenty years, 
and knew him to be honest, intelligent and a lover of truth. 
Therefore I gave full credit to what he told me, and as yet have 
had no reason to disbelieve or even to doubt it. I once em 
ployed him to save the life of a respectable gentleman, now 
residing at Pittsburg, who was in imminent danger of being 
killed by a war party. Duke Holland conducted him safely 
through the woods, from the Muskingum to the Ohio settle 
ment. He once found a watch of mine, which had been sent 
to me from Pittsburg by a man who had got drunk, and lost it 
in the woods about fifty miles from the place where I lived. 
Duke Holland went in search of it, and having discovered the 
tracks of the man to whom it had been entrusted, he pursued 
them until he found the lost article, which he delivered to me. 

1 Indian stockings. 



HILE the American Indians remained in the free and 
undisturbed possession of the land which God gave to 
them, and even for a long time after the Europeans 
had settled themselves in their territory, there was no 
people upon earth who paid a more religious respect than they 
did to the sacred character of the ambassadors, or (as they call 
them) Messengers of peace. It is too well known that since about 
the middle of the last century a great change has taken place, 
the cause of which, I am sorry to say, the Indians lay entirely 
to our charge. 

The inviolability of the person of an ambassador is one of those 
sacred fundamental principles of the law of nature which the 
Almighty Creator has imprinted upon the heart of every living 
man. History teaches us that the most barbarous and savage 
nations have at all times admitted and carried it into practice. 
It is a lamentable truth that all the violations of it that stand 
upon record, are to be ascribed to civilised man or to his con 
tagious example. 

It is certain that among our Indians the person of an ambas 
sador was formerly held most sacred and inviolable. All the 
nations and tribes were agreed upon this point, that a messenger, 
though sent by the most hostile people, was entitled not only to 
respect but to protection. To have, I will not say murdered, 
but knowingly ill treated a person of this description, was with 
them an unpardonable crime. War parties were always instruct 
ed, if they should find a messenger on his way from one nation 



to another, not only to give him protection but hospitality, and 
see him safely conducted to the people to whom he was sent. 

In the same manner, when a messenger was sent to them by 
a nation with whom they were at war or at variance, though 
they might be ever so much exasperated against them, and even 
though they had firmly determined not to listen, that is to say, 
not to consent to their propositions, whatever they might be, 
still they would grant their protection to the man of peace, and 
tell him in their expressive language " that they had taken him 
under their wings, or placed him under their arm pits, where 
he was perfectly safe." It was with them a point of religious 
belief, that pacific messengers were under the special protection 
of the Great Spirit, that it was unlawful to molest them, and that 
the nation which should be guilty of so enormous a crime would 
surely be punished by being unsuccessful in war, and perhaps, 
by suffering a total defeat. Therefore, frequent instances hap 
pened of such messengers being sent back with the most threat 
ening messages, such as, that it was determined to wage a war 
of blood and destruction, and that no quarter would be given, 
yet the ambassadors themselves did not meet with the least in 
sult or disrespect ; they were protected during all the time that 
they remained in the hostile country, and were safely conducted 
to their own nation, or at least, so far on their way as to be out 
of danger from the enemy s warriors, leaving them a sufficient 
time to reach their houses, before a fresh stroke was made, to 
give notice that the truce was at an end or that the war was 
begun. I have heard of messengers being sent back with a 
message to this effect : " I return to your bosom, safe and un 
molested, the messengers you sent me. The answer to the 
speech they brought me from you, you will learn from my 
young warriors, who are gone to see you." The nature of the 
visit thus announced may be easily guessed at. The message 
was in fact a declaration of war, with a fair notice that an inva 
sion of the enemy s country was immediately to take place. 

Such were the principles, such was the manly conduct of the 
Indians in former times. How different it is at present I need 
not say. We yet remember the unhappy fate of Messrs. True- 
man, Freeman, and Hardin. These three respectable American 


gentlemen, were in the year 1792, sent to the Indians with flags 
of truce and peace proposals, and were all wantonly murdered. 1 
To whom is this horrid state of things to be attributed ? I will 
not pretend to judge, but let us hear what the Indians say. 

The principal reasons which they assign as having brought 
about this great change, are comprised under the following gen 
eral heads. 

I. That the white people have intermeddled with their national 
concerns, by dictating to one nation how they should treat 
another, and even how they should speak and what they should 
say to them, and by this means have entirely destroyed their 
national independence. That they have even encouraged and 
supported one Indian nation in not only affecting but actually 
exercising dominion and supremacy over all the others. 

II. That the whites have treated the Indians as a contemptible 
race and paid no regard themselves to the sacred character 
of messengers, but murdered them as well as their chiefs in 
numerous instances without distinction. That they even pol 
luted what among them is esteemed most holy and inviolable, 
their council fires, extinguishing them (as they express them 
selves) with streams of the best blood of their nation, in violation 
of their professions and most solemn promises ! That their 
whole conduct in short has appeared as if they would say to 
them: "We do not care for you; we despise you all we want 
is your lands, and those we will have." 

Nor are they at a loss when called upon to specify the par 
ticular injuries of which they complain. Amidst a long list of 
similar grievances, I shall select a few of the most prominent. 

I. The protection given against them to the Iroquois, encour 
aging that nation to insult them, to treat them as women made 
such by conquest, and to exercise a tyrannical superiority over 

1 [The three Commissioners set out from Fort Washington (Cincinnati) for the 
Indian country in June of 1792, but never returned. Despite the failure of this 
mission, General Rufus Putnam was without delay despatched on a similar errand, 
and at Post Vincennes, on the Wabash, in September of the above mentioned year, 
concluded a treaty of peace with a number of the Western tribes. Mr. Heckewelder 
was associated by the War Department with Putnam in this perilous undertaking.] 


2. The murder of the Conestogo Indians, at the very place 
where a council fire was burning at the time ; where treaties had 
been held with them in early times, and where even a treaty had 
been concluded in 1762, the year preceding the murder; and 
that too in the country of their brother Miquon , in the Quaker 
country, in Pennsylvania. 

3. The horrid murder committed between the years 1776 and 
I 779 on the great and much valued Shawano chief Cornstalk, at 
Kanhawa, where it was known that he was on a friendly and 
interesting errand. 1 

4. The firing upon and severely wounding a noted Shawano 
in the year 1774, while on his return from Pittsburgh, to which 
place he had, out of friendship and humanity, conducted several 
white traders and protected them against an enraged body of 
Indians, on whose relations the white people had committed 
most horrid murders. 

5. The attacking the peaceable encampment of the Delaware 
chiefs on the island at Pittsburgh, where one Messenger and 
several others were murdered. 

6. The murder of the Christian Indians on Muskingum, by 
Williamson s party, together with the chief from Achsinning, (the 
standing stone,) although the persons thus murdered were 
known to be friends to the whites. 

The Indians relate many more outrages committed on messen 
gers, visiters, and other friendly Indians, of which I shall spare 
the painful recital to my readers. From this series of unjust and 
cruel acts, the Indian nations, have at last come to the conclusion 
that the Americans are in their hearts inimical to them, and that 
when they send them messengers of peace, they only mean to 
lull them into a fancied security, that they may the easier fall 
upon and destroy them. It was in consequence of this convic 
tion that the three respectable gentlemen whom I have already 
mentioned, met with their unhappy fate. 

1 [Cornstalk, the well-known Shawano king, while held by the Americans in the 
fort at Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the Kanhawa, was murdered by some soldiers 
of the garrison, in revenge for the loss of one of their companions, who had met his 
death while hunting, at the hands of a British Indian.] 



N early times, when Indian nations, after long and 
bloody wars, met together, for the purpose of adjust 
ing their differences, or concluding a peace with each 
other, it was their laudable custom, as a token of 
their sincerity, to remove out of the place where the peace 
makers were sitting, all warlike weapons and instruments of 
destruction, of whatever form or shape. " For," said they, "when 
we are engaged in a good work, nothing that is bad must be 
visible. We are met together to forgive and forget, to bury the 
destructive weapon, and put it quite out of sight ; we cast away 
from us the fatal instrument that has caused so much grief to our 
wives and children, and has been the source of so many tears. 
It is our earnest hope and wish that it may never be dug up 
again." So particular were they on this point, that if a single 
weapon had been in sight, while a treaty was negotiating, it would 
have disturbed their minds by recalling the memory of past 
events, and instead, (as they say) of gladdening their hearts, by 
the prospect of a speedy peace, would, on the contrary, have 
filled them with sorrow. 

Nor would they even permit any warlike weapons to remain 
within the limits of their council fire, when assembled together 
about the ordinary business of government. It might, they said, 
have a bad effect, and defeat the object for which they had met. 
It might be a check on some of the persons assembled, and per 
haps, prevent those who had a just complaint or representation 
to make, from speaking their minds freely. William Penn, said 



they, when he treated with them, adopted this ancient mode of 
their ancestors, and convened them under a grove of shady trees, 
where the little birds on their boughs were warbling their sweet 
notes. In commemoration of these conferences (which are 
always to Indians a subject of pleasing remembrance) they fre 
quently assembled together in the woods, in some shady spot as 
nearly as possible similar to those where they used to meet their 
brother Miqiton, and there lay all his " words " or speeches, with 
those of his descendants, on a blanket or clean piece of bark, 
and with great satisfaction go successively over the whole. 
This practice (which I have repeatedly witnessed) continued 
until the year 1780, when the disturbances which then took 
place put an end to it, probably for ever. 

These pleasing remembrances, these sacred usages are no 
more. " When we treat with the white people," do the Indians 
now say, " we have not the choice of the spot where the mes 
sengers are to meet. When we are called upon to conclude a 
peace, (and what a peace ?) the meeting no longer takes place in 
the shady grove, where the innocent little birds with their cheer 
ful songs, seem as if they wished to soothe and enliven our 
minds, tune them to amity and concord and take a part in the 
good work for which we are met. Neither is it at the sacred 
council house, that we are invited to assemble. No ! It is at 
some of those horrid places, surrounded with mounds and 
ditches, where the most destructive of all weapons, where great 
guns are gaping at us with their wide mouths, as if ready to de 
vour us ; and thus we are prevented from speaking our minds 
freely as brothers ought to do ! " 

How then, say they, can there be any sincerity in such coun 
cils ? how can a treaty of this kind be binding on men thus 
forced to agree to what is dictated to them in a strong prison 
and at the cannon s mouth ; where all the stipulations are on 
one side, where all is concession on the one part and no friend 
ship appears on the other ? From these considerations, which 
they urge and constantly dwell upon, the treaties which they 
make with the white men have lost all their force, and they 
think themselves no longer bound by them than they are com 
pelled by superior power. Are they right in this or are they 
wrong ? The impartial reader must decide. 



HE Indians believe that the Whites were made by the 
same Great Spirit who created them, and that he 
assigned to each different race of men a particular 
employment in this world, but not the same to all. 
To the whites the great Mannitto gave it in charge to till the 
ground and raise by cultivation the fruits of the earth ; to the 
Indians he assigned the nobler employment of hunting, and the 
supreme dominion over all the rest of the animal creation. 

They will not admit that the whites are superior beings. They 
say that the hair of their heads, their features, the various colours 
of their eyes, evince that they are not like themselves Lenni 
Lenape, an ORIGINAL PEOPLE, a race of men that has existed un 
changed from the beginning of time ; but they are a mixed race, 
and therefore a troublesome one ; wherever they may be, the 
Great Spirit, knowing the wickedness of their disposition, found 
it necessary to give them a great Book, 1 and taught them how 
to read it, that they might know and observe what he wished 
them to do and to abstain from. But they, the Indians, have no 
need of any such book to let them know the will of their Maker ; 
they find it engraved on their own hearts ; they have had suf 
ficient discernment given to them to distinguish good from evil, 
and by following that guide, they are sure not to err. 

It is true, they confess, that when they first saw the whites, 
they took them for beings of a superior kind. They did not 
know but that they had been sent to them from the abode of 

1 The Bible. 



the Great Spirit for some great and important purpose. They 
therefore, welcomed them, hoping to be made happier by their 
company. It was not long, however, before they discovered 
their mistake, having found them an ungrateful, insatiable people, 
who, though the Indians had given them as much land as was 
necessary to raise provisions for themselves and their families, 
and pasture for their cattle, wanted still to have more, and at 
last would not be contented with less than the whole country. 
" And yet," say those injured people, " these white men would 
always be telling us of their great Book which God had given to 
them, they would persuade us that every man was good who 
believed in what the Book said, and every man was bad who 
did not believe in it. They told us a great many things, which 
they said were written in the good Book, and wanted us to be 
lieve it all. We would probably have done so, if we had seen 
them practise what they pretended to believe, and act according 
to the good words which they told us. But no ! while they held 
their big Book in one hand, in the other they had murderous 
weapons, guns and swords, wherewith to kill us, poor Indians ! 
Ah ! and they did so too, they killed those who believed in 
their Book, as well as those who did not. They made no dis 
tinction ! " 

They, nevertheless, are sensible that they have many friends 
among the white people, and only regret that from their being 
scattered and at a distance, they cannot be useful to them and 
to each other. Of those whom they know to be their friends, 
they always speak with warmth and affection. They also speak 
of the Gentellemaan (gentlemen) as a particular class among the 
whites which deserves to be distinguished ; but they never apply 
that descriptive title to a person whom they know to be their 
enemy, or believe to be ill disposed towards them. 

The Indians have a keen eye ; by looking at a person, they 
think that they can judge of his friendly or unfriendly dispo 
sition to their race ; and, indeed, it has been allowed by many 
whites who have lived among them, that they are, in general, 
pretty good physiognomists. They are very quick among them 
selves in giving a name to a stranger or person of note that 
comes to them, and that name is always significant or descrip- 


tive of something remarkable which they have observed about 
his person, which serves them to remember him as a friend or 
otherwise, as the case may be ; when they believe a person to 
be their friend, they will do everything in their power to oblige 
him, it being their principle that " good ought always to be 
rewarded with good." They prefer a plain man, simple in his 
manners and who treats them with frankness and familiarity. 
Such a man, they say, loves them. From a proud haughty man 
they do not expect friendship ; whatever may be his professions, 
they think him incapable of loving anybody but himself, or per 
haps, at most, his equal, and that, they think, an Indian can, in 
his opinion, never be. 

They sometimes amuse themselves by passing in review those 
customs of the white people which appear to them most striking. 
They observe, amongst other things, that when the whites meet 
together, many of them, and sometimes all, speak at the same 
time, and they wonder how they can thus hear and understand 
each other. " Among us," they say " only one person speaks 
at a time, and the others listen to him until he has done, after 
which, and not before, another begins to speak." They say also 
that the whites speak too much, and that much talk disgraces a 
man and is fit only for women. On this subject they shrewdly 
observe, that it is well for the whites that they have the art of 
writing, and can write down their words and speeches ; for had 
they, like themselves, to transmit them to posterity by means of 
strings and belts of wampum, they would want for their own use 
all the wampum that could be made, and none would be left for" 
the Indians. 

They wonder that the white people are striving so much to 
get rich, and to heap up treasures in this world which they can 
not carry with them to the next. They ascribe this to pride 
and to the desire of being called rich and great. They say that 
there is enough in this world to live upon, without laying any 
thing by, and as to the next world, it contains plenty of every 
thing, and they will find all their wants satisfied when they arrive 
there. They, therefore, do not lay up any stores, but merely 
take with them when they die as much as is necessary for their 
journey to the world of spirits. 


They believe, or, at least, pretend to believe, that the white 
people have weak eyes, or are near- sighted. "For," say they, 
"when we Indians come among them, they crowd quite close 
up to us, stare at us, and almost tread upon our heels to get 
nearer. We, on the contrary, though, perhaps, not less curious 
than they are, to see a new people or a new object, keep at a 
reasonable distance, and yet see what we wish to see." They 
also remark, that when the white people meet together, they 
speak very loud, although near to each other, from whence they 
conclude that they must be hard of hearing. " As to us," they 
say, " we never speak loud when we come together, and yet we 
understand each other distinctly ; we only speak in a high tone 
of voice before a public audience, in council, at the head of our 
warriors, or when we are met together for some important pur 

The Indians also observe, that the white people must have a 
great many thieves among them, since they put locks to their 
doors, which shews great apprehension that their property other 
wise would not be safe : "As to us," say they, "we entertain no 
such fears ; thieves are very rare among us, and we have no 
instance of any person breaking into a house. Our Indian lock 
is, when we go out, to set the corn pounder or a billet of wood 
against the door, so that it may be seen that no body is within, 
and there is no danger that any Indian would presume to enter 
a house thus secured." Let me be permitted to illustrate this by 
an anecdote. 

In the year 1771, while I was residing on the Big Beaver, I 
passed by the door of an Indian, who was a trader, and had con 
sequently a quantity of goods in his house. He was going with 
his wife to Pittsburg, and they were shutting up the house, as 
no person remained in it during their absence. This shutting 
up was nothing else than putting a large hominy pounding- 
block, with a few sticks of wood outside against the door, so 
as to keep it closed. As I was looking at this man with atten 
tion while he was so employed, he addressed me in these words: 
" See my friend, this is an Indian lock that I am putting to my 
door." I answered, " Well enough ; but I see you leave much 
property in the house, are you not afraid that those articles will 


be stolen while you are gone ? " " Stolen ! by whom ? " " Why, 
by Indians, to be sure." "No, no," replied he, "no Indian 
would do such a thing, and unless a white man or white people 
should happen to come this way, I shall find all safe on my 

The Indians say, that when the white people encamp in the 
woods they are sure to lose something ; that when they are gone, 
something or another is always found which they have lost, such 
as a knife, flints, bullets, and sometimes even money. They also 
observe that the whites are not so attentive as they are to choos 
ing an open dry spot for their encampment; that they will at 
once set themselves down in any dirty and wet place, provided 
they are under large trees ; that they never look about to see 
which way the wind blows, so as to be able to lay the wood for 
their fires in such a position that the smoke may not blow on 
them ; neither do they look up the trees to see whether there are 
not dead limbs that may fall on them while they are asleep ; that 
any wood will do for them to lay on their fires, whether it be dry 
or wet, and half rotten, so that they are involved during the 
whole night in a cloud of smoke ; or they take such wood as 
young green oak, walnut, cherry, chestnut, &c., which throws 
sparks out to a great distance, so that their blankets and clothes 
get holes burned in them, and sometimes their whole camp takes 
fire. They also remark that the whites hang their kettles and 
pots over a fire just kindled, and before the great body of smoke 
has passed away. 

They, however, acknowledge that the whites are ingenious, 
that they make axes, guns, knives, hoes, shovels, pots and ket 
tles, blankets, shirts, and other very convenient articles, to which 
they have now become accustomed, and which they can no 
longer do without. " Yet," say they, " our forefathers did with 
out all these things, and we have never heard, nor has any tradi 
tion informed us that they were at a loss for the want of them ; 
therefore we must conclude that they also were ingenious; and, 
indeed, we know that they were ; for they made axes of stone 
to cut with, and bows and arrows to kill the game : they made 
knives and arrows points with sharp flint stones and bones, 
hoes and shovels from the shoulder blade of the elk and buffa- 


loe; they made pots of clay, garments of skins, and ornaments 
with the feathers of the turkey, goose and other birds. They 
were not in want of anything, the game was plenty and tame, 
the dart shot from our arrows did not frighten them as the re 
port of the gun now does ; we had therefore everything that we 
could reasonably require ; we lived happy ! " 

Finally, they think, that the white people have learned much 
of them in the art of war; for when they first began to fight the 
Indians, they stood all together in a cluster, and suffered them 
selves to be shot down like turkies. They also make a distinc 
tion between a warrior &D& a murderer, which, as they explain it, 
is not much to our advantage. " It is not," say they, " the num 
ber of scalps alone which a man brings with him that prove him 
to be a brave warrior. Cowards have been known to return, 
and bring scalps home, which they had taken where they knew 
there was no danger, where no attack was expected and no 
opposition made. Such was the case with those who killed the 
Conestogoes at and near Lancaster, the Christian Indians on 
the Muskingum, the friendly Indians near Pittsburg, and a great 
number of scattered, peaceable men of our nation, who were all 
murdered by cowards. It was not thus that the Black Snake? 
the great General Wayne acted; he was a true warrior and a 
brave man ; he was equal to any of the chiefs that we have, 
equal to any that we ever had." 

Thus, the Indians, while they deeply resent the wrongs and 
injuries which they have suffered, yet pay due homage to worth, 
bravery, and military skill, even in an enemy. Strong as their 
feelings are, they do not extinguish their sense of justice, and 
they are still generously disposed to allow that there are great 
and good individuals among a race of men, who, they believe, 
have doomed them to utter destruction. 

1 The Indians gave this name to General Wayne, because they say that he had all 
the cunning of this animal, who is superior to all other snakes in the manner of pro 
curing his food. He hides himself in the grass with his head only above it, watching 
all around to see where the birds are building their nests, that he may know where 
to find the young ones when they are hatched. 



[HE principal food of the Indians consists of the game 
which they take or kill in the woods, the fish out of 
the waters, and the maize, potatoes, beans, pumpkins, 
squashes, cucumbers, melons, and occasionally cab 
bages and turnips, which they raise in their fields; they make 
use also of various roots of plants, fruits, nuts, and berries out of 
the woods, by way of relish or as a seasoning to their victuals, 
sometimes also from necessity. 

They commonly make two meals every day, which, they say, 
is enough. If any one should feel hungry between meal-times, 
there is generally something in the house ready for him. 

The hunter prefers going out with his gun on an empty 
stomach ; he says, that hunger stimulates him to exertion by 
reminding him continually of his wants, whereas a full stomach 
makes a hunter easy, careless, and lazy, ever thinking of his 
home and losing his time to no purpose. With all their in 
dustry, nevertheless, and notwithstanding this strong stimulant, 
many a day passes over their heads that they have not met with 
any kind of game, nor consequently tasted a morsel of victuals; 
still they go on with their chase, in hopes of being able to carry 
some provisions home, and do not give up the pursuit until it is 
so dark that they can see no longer. 

The morning and evening, they say, are the precious hours 
for the hunter. They lose nothing by sleeping in the middle 
of the day, that is to say, between ten o clock in the morning 
and four in the afternoon, except in dark, cloudy, and rainy 
weather, when the whole day is nearly equally good for hunt- 
3 193 


ing. Therefore the hunter, who happens to have no meat in 
the house, will be off and in the woods before daylight, and 
strive to be in again for breakfast with a deer, turkey, goose, 
bear, or raccoon, or some other game then in season. Mean 
while, his wife has pounded her corn, now boiling on the fire, 
and baked her bread, which gives them a good breakfast. If, 
however, the husband is not returned by ten o clock in the fore 
noon, the family take their meal by themselves, and his share is 
put aside for him when he comes home. 

The Indians have a number of manners of preparing their 
corn. They make an excellent pottage of it, by boiling it with 
fresh or dried meat (the latter pounded), dried pumpkins, dry 
beans, and chestnuts. They sometimes sweeten it with sugar or 
molasses from the sugar-maple tree. Another very good dish is 
prepared by boiling with their corn or maize, the washed ker 
nels of the shell-bark or hickory nut. They pound the nuts in 
a block or mortar, pouring a little warm water on them, and 
gradually a little more as they become dry, until, at last, there 
is a sufficient quantity of water, so that by stirring up the 
pounded nuts the broken shells separate from the liquor, which 
from the pounded kernels assumes the appearance of milk. This 
being put into the kettle and mixed with the pottage gives it a 
rich and agreeable flavour. If the broken shells do not all freely 
separate by swimming on the top or sinking to the bottom, the 
liquor is strained through a clean cloth, before it is put into the 

They also prepare a variety of dishes from the pumpkin, the 
squash, and the green French or kidney beans ; they are very 
particular in their choice of pumpkins and squashes, and in their 
manner of cooking them. The women say that the less water 
is put to them, the better dish they make, and that it would be 
still better if they were stewed without any water, merely in the 
steam of the sap which they contain. They cover up the pots 
in which they cook them with large leaves of the pumpkin vine, 
cabbages, or other leaves of the larger kind. They make an 
excellent preserve from the cranberry and crab-apple, to which, 
after it has been well stewed, they add a proper quantity of 
sugar or molasses. 


Their bread is of two kinds ; one made up of green corn while 
in the milk, and another of the same grain when fully ripe and 
quite dry. This last is pounded as fine as possible, then sifted 
and kneaded into dough, and afterwards made up into cakes of 
six inches in diameter and about an inch in thickness, rounded 
off on the edge. In baking these cakes, they are extremely par 
ticular; the ashes must be clean and hot, and if possible come 
out of good dry oak barks, which they say gives a brisk and 
durable heat. In the dough of this kind of bread, they fre 
quently mix boiled pumpkins, green or dried, dry beans, or well 
pared chestnuts, boiled in the same manner, dried venison well 
pounded, whortleberries, green or dry, but not boiled, sugar 
and other palatable ingredients. For the other kind of bread, 
the green corn is either pounded or mashed, is put in broad 
green corn blades, generally filled in with a ladle, well wrapped 
up, and baked in the ashes, like the other. They consider this 
as a very delicate morsel, but to me it is too sweet. 

Their Psindambcan or Tassmandne, as they call it, is the most 
nourishing and durable food made out of the Indian corn. The 
blue sweetish kind is the grain which they prefer for that pur 
pose. They parch it in clean hot ashes, until it bursts, it is then 
sifted and cleaned, and pounded in a mortar into a kind of flour, 
and when they wish to make it very good, they mix some sugar 
with it. When wanted for use, they take about a table spoonful 
of this flour in their mouths, then stooping to the river or brook, 
drink water to it. If, however, they have a cup or other small 
vessel at hand, they put the flour in it and mix it with water, in 
the proportion of one table spoonful to a pint. At their camps 
they will put a small quantity in a kettle with water and let it 
boil down, and they will have a thick pottage. With this food, 
the traveller and warrior will set out on long journeys and 
expeditions, and as a little of it will serve them for a day, they 
have not a heavy load of provisions to carry. Persons who are 
unacquainted with this diet ought to be careful not to take too 
much at a time, and not to suffer themselves to be tempted too 
far by its flavour; more than one or two spoonfuls at most at 
any one time or at one meal is dangerous ; for it is apt to swell 
in the stomach or bowels, as when heated over a fire. 


Their meat they either boil, roast, or broil. Their roasting is 
done by running a wooden spit through the meat, sharpened at 
each end, which they place near the fire, and occasionally turn. 
They broil on clean coals, drawn off from the fire for that pur 
pose. They often laugh at the white hunters, for baking their 
bread in dirty ashes, and being alike careless of cleanliness when 
they broil their meat. They are fond of dried venison, pounded 
in a mortar and dipped in bear s oil. The Delawares, Mohicans, 
and Shawanos are very particular in their choice of meats, and 
nothing short of the most pressing hunger can induce them to 
eat of certain animals, such as the horse, dog, wild cat, panther, 
fox, muskrat, wolf, &c., all which I have several times seen the 
Chippeways feast upon with a seemingly good appetite. The Iro- 
quois are said to have been formerly very dirty in their eating. 
They dried the entrails of animals without cleaning, or even 
emptying them of their contents ; then cut them into pieces and 
put them into their pottage, by way of seasoning. 1 The late Mr. 
Zeisberger has often related to me how he once mistook for 
black pepper or some other kind of spice, a certain unpleasant 
ingredient which he found floating in small grains on the surface 
of their broth. 

Far different in this respect are the Lenape and their kindred 
tribes, particularly the three which I have named above. They 
are not only cleanly in their eating, but even delicate, and they 
will sometimes resist the pressing calls of hunger rather than 
eat the flesh of those animals which they consider as not being 
proper food for man. Of this I shall give an instance in the 
following anecdote. 

I was travelling in the spring of 1773, from Muskingum to the 
Big Beaver, with more than twenty Indians, five of whom were 
old men and the rest women and children, all (except our guide) 
strangers to the country, having come but the year before from 
Wyalusing on the Susquehannah. Having been at one time 
confined two days by the overflowing of two large creeks, 
between which we were, we found our provisions at an end. 
Every man who had a gun was called upon to turn out into the 

1 This is not applicable to the Iroquois of the present time. 


woods, and try to kill something. Their endeavours, however, 
were to no purpose ; the day passed away, and they all, except 
. the well-known Popmihank^ who had lost himself, returned to 
camp at night without bringing any thing of the meat kind 
but a wild cat, which our guide had shot. The Indians never 
despair, not even in the worst of times and under the severest 
trials ; when placed in difficult situations they never use dis 
couraging language, but alv/ays endeavour to raise their spirits 
and prevent them from sinking, under the hardships or dangers to 
which they are exposed. True to this national character, one of 
our old Indians immediately pronounced this wild cat to be " good, 
very good eating," and it was immediately ordered to be put on the 
spit and roasted for our supper. While this was performing, the 
old Indian endeavoured to divert the company by extolling in a 
jocular manner the country they had now got into, and where 
such good things were to be had ; to which some one or other 
of the old men would reply; "all very true." At length, about 
nine o clock at night, the call was given by the old cook (for so 
I now call him) that the meat was done and we might come in to 
eat. I, who had heard so much in praise of this repast, being 
greatly pinched with hunger, had kept myself in readiness for 
this expected call ; but seeing nobody rise, and observing much 
merriment through the camp, I began to suspect that something 
was the matter, and therefore kept my seat. The night was 
spent without any body attempting to eat of the wild cat, and in 
the morning a different call was given by one of the old men, 
signifying that a large kettle of tea had been made by some of 
the good women, who invited all to come and take their share 
of it. Every one obeyed this call, and I went with the rest, the 
jovial old cook taking the roasted wild cat with him to the 
mess. The scene was not only very diverting, but brought on 
an interesting discussion between the men on the propriety or 
impropriety of eating the flesh of all animals without restriction, 
some contending that they were all by the will of the great 

1 [A Monsey of Wyalusing, at whose persuasion the Moravian Indians settled on 
that stream in 1765, who became one of their number, following them to the Big 
Beaver and the Tuscarawas, where he died in May of 1775. Papunhank s name 
occurs frequently in the annals of Provincial history between 1762 and 1765.] 


Creator ordained for some use, and therefore put in the power 
of man ; and how were we to know which were intended for our 
nourishment and which not? The old cook had himself taken 
that position, adding that the hog and the bear fed on dirty things, 
and yet we ate their meat with a good appetite. The cat, how 
ever, notwithstanding all the arguments in its favour, remained 
untouched, and was taken back by the old hunter and cook to 
its former place at his fire. 

But now, Popunhank, whom we believed to be lost, and our 
guide, who once more had gone out, and exerted himself in vain 
to kill a deer, came in together. The guide had been desired as 
he pursued his hunt to look for our lost companion, and had the 
good luck to find him at the distance of five or six miles, with a 
fine deer that he had killed. He lost no time in bringing him 
back to our camp. 

The sight of these two men dragging a large deer along was 
truly joyful to us, as well on account of the recovery of our lost 
friend, as of the meat that he brought. All felt the cravings of 
hunger, all were delighted with the certain prospect of imme 
diate relief, yet no boisterous or extraordinary rejoicing took 
place, but all called out with one voice : Anischi ! Anischi! we 
are thankful. The wild cat, which yet remained untouched, 
was thrown out of the camp, and dismissed by the old cook 
with these words : " Go, cat, we do not want you this time !" 

The woods and waters, at certain times and seasons, furnish to 
the Indians an abundant supply of wholesome nourishing food, 
which, if carefully gathered, cured and stored up, would serve 
them for the whole year, so that none need perish or even suffer 
from hunger; but they are not accustomed to laying in stores of 
provisions, except some Indian corn, dry beans and a few other 
articles. Hence they are sometimes reduced to great straits, 
and not seldom in absolute want of the necessaries of life, 
especially in the time of war. Yet, notwithstanding the numer 
ous famines they have been visited with, they have among their 
traditions but one instance on record in which an human life 
was taken for the support of others, although they relate many 
cases in which numbers of them were actually starved to death. 
The case I allude to was so singular a circumstance, that it 


seems the cruel act to which it gave rise was almost unavoida 
ble. I shall relate it here as I have received it from the most 
unquestionable authority. 

In the winter of 1739-40, ever since remembered as the hard 
winter, when the ground was covered with a very deep snow, a 
woman with three children, was coming from beyond the 
Alleghany mountains on a visit to her friends or relations re 
siding at the great island on the west branch of the Susque- 
hannah. After she had reached that river somewhere about 
Achtschingi Clammui, which the whites have corrupted into 
Chingleclamoose? the snow fell in earlier than had been before 
known, to such a depth, that she could not proceed any farther. 
She began with putting herself and her children on short allow 
ance, in hopes that the weather might become more moderate, 
or the snow so hard that they could walk over it. She strove 
to make her little store of provisions last as long as she could, 
by using the grass which grew on the river s edge, and certain 
barks as substitutes, which she boiled to make them digestible ; 
but more snow falling, until at last it rose to the height of a 
fathom or six feet, she was deprived even of that wretched food, 
and the wolves hovering about day and night, often attempting 
to rush into her little encampment, her whole time was taken up 
with procuring wood and making fires to prevent herself and 
her children from being frozen to death, and keeping those 
voracious animals at a distance by throwing out fire-brands to 
them. Her situation, at last, became intolerable. Having no 
alternative but that of sacrificing one of her children, she re 
solved on destroying the youngest, in order to preserve the 
others and herself from the most dreadful death. After much 
hesitation, she turned away her eyes and with a trembling hand 
gave the fatal stroke, filling at the same time the air with her 
loud lamentations. She now thought he had obtained a tem 
porary relief, and that she might be able to support herself and 
her surviving children until a change in the weather should take 
place, so that they could be able to proceed on their journey ; 

1 [The Chinglacamoose, now the Moose, empties into the Susquehannah in Clear- 
field County, Penna.] 


but the wolves getting the scent of the slaughtered child, became 
more furious than before, her danger every moment became more 
imminent. She now filled the air with her cries and supplica 
tions to the Great Spirit that he would look down with compas 
sion on their awful condition, and save them by his almighty 
power. But still the danger increased, the horrid food was 
almost exhausted, and no relief came. Already she contem 
plated sacrificing another child ; she looked at each of them 
again and again with a mother s eye, now resolving on killing 
the one, then changing her mind, and endeavouring to determine 
on the destruction of the other; she hesitated, wept, despaired, 
and the children, well understanding what she meant, prayed 
that they might all die together. While in this situation, her 
hand already lifted to strike the fatal stroke, the yell of two 
approaching Indians strikes Iier ear, and the murderous weapon 
falls from her hand. The men with rackets to their feet now 
appear and the dreadful scene is at once closed. They had 
provisions with them. They made a pair of rackets for the 
woman to walk on, and brought her and her children along in 
safety to the Big Island, where my informants resided at the 
time. I cannot remember whether they told me that they had 
gone to that spot in consequence of a dream, or of some strong 
presentiment that they should find human creatures in distress ; 
certain I am, however, that it was owing to one or other of these 

The place where this awful event took place was since called 
Enda Mohdtink, which means " where human flesh was eaten." 
This name has been very familiar to the Indians who resided 
in that part of the country. 

There is a spot of land at the edge of the great Pine or Beech 
Swamp, precisely where it is crossed by the road leading to 
Wyoming, which is called the Hermit s Field, and of which the 
following account is given. A short time before the white 
people came into Pennsylvania, a woman from some cause or 
other had separated herself from society, and with her young 
son, had taken her abode in this swamp, where she remained 
undiscovered until the boy grew up to manhood, procuring a 
livelihood by the use of the bow and arrow, in killing deer, 


turkeys and other animals, planting corn and vegetables, and 
gathering and curing nuts and berries of various kinds. When 
after her long seclusion she again saw Indians, she was much 
astonished to find them dressed in European apparel. She had 
become so attached to her place of abode, that she again l re 
turned thither and remained there for several y^ars. I was 
shewn by the Indians in the year 1765, and ctten afterwards, 
the corn hills that she had made; the ground, being a stiff clay, 
was not wasted or worn down, but was covered with bushes, and 
the traces of the labour of the female hermit were plainly dis 

Thus the Indians will support themselves in the midst of the 
greatest difficulties, never despairing of their fate, but trusting to 
their exertions, and to the protection of the Almighty. Being 
who created them. 

1 Dele again. 



\ ancient times, the dress of the Indians was made of 
jjfce skins of animals and feathers. This clothing, they 
say, was not only warmer, but lasted much longer 
than any woollen goods they have since purchased of 
the white people. They can dress any skin, even that of the 
buffaloe, so that it becomes quite soft and supple, and a good 
buffaloe or bear skin blanket will serve them many years with 
out wearing out. Beaver and raccoon skin blankets are also pli 
ant, warm and durable ; they sew together as many of those 
skins as is necessary, carefully setting the hair or fur all the 
same way, so that the blanket or covering be smooth, and the 
rain do not penetrate, but run off. In wearing these fur blan 
kets they are regulated by the weather ; if it is cold and dry the 
fur is placed next the body, but in warm and wet weather, they 
have it outside. Some made themselves long frocks of fine fur, 
and the women s petticoats in the winter season were also made 
of them, otherwise of dressed deer skins, the same as their shirts, 
leggings and shoes. They say that shoes made of dressed bear 
skins, with the hair on and turned inside, are very warm, and in 
dry weather, durable. With the large rib bones of the elk and 
buffaloe they shaved the hair off the skins they dressed, and 
even now, they say that they can clean a skin as well with a 
well prepared rib-bone as with a knife. 

The blankets made from feathers were also warm and durable. 
They were the work of the women, particularly of the old, who 
delight in such work, and indeed, in any work which shews that 



they are able to do their parts and be useful to society. It re 
quires great patience, being the most tedious kind of work I 
have ever seen them perform, yet they do it in a most ingenious 
manner. The feathers, generally those of the turkey and goose, 
are so curiously arranged and interwoven together with thread 
or twine, which they prepare from the rind or bark of the wild 
hemp and nettle, that ingenuity and skill cjfrinot be denied them. 
They show the same talent and much forethought in making 
their Happis, the bands with which they carry their bags and 
other burdens ; they make these very strong and lasting. 

The present dress of the Indians is well known to consist in 
blankets, plain or ruffled shirts and leggings for the men, and 
petticoats for the women, made of cloth, generally red, blue, or 
black. The wealthy adorn themselves besides with ribands or 
gartering of various colours, beads and silver broaches. These 
ornaments are arranged by the women, who, as well as the men, 
know how to dress themselves in style. Those of the men prin 
cipally consist in the painting of themselves, their head and face 
principally, shaving or good clean garments, silver arm spangles 
and breast plates, and a belt or two of wampum hanging to their 
necks. The women, at the expense of their husbands or lovers, 
line their petticoat and blue or scarlet cloth blanket or covering 
with choice ribands of various colours, or with gartering, on 
which they fix a number of silver broaches, or small round 
buckles. They adorn their leggings in the same manner; their 
mocksens, (properly Maxen, or according to the English pro 
nunciation Moxcii), are embroidered in the neatest manner, with 
coloured porcupine quills, and are besides, almost entirely cov 
ered with various trinkets ; they have, moreover, a number of 
little bells and brass thimbles fixed round their ancles, which, 
when they walk, make a tinkling noise, which is heard at some 
distance ; this is intended to draw the attention of those who 
pass by, that they may look at and admire them. 

The women make use of vermilion in painting themselves for 
dances, but they are very careful and circumspect in applying 
the paint, so that it does not offend or create suspicion in their 
husbands ; there is a mode of painting which is left entirely to 
loose women and prostitutes. 


As I was once resting in my travels at the house of a trader 
who lived at some distance from an Indian town, I went in the 
morning to visit an Indian acquaintance and friend of mine. I 
found him engaged in plucking out his beard, preparatory to 
painting himself for a dance which was to take place the ensuing 
evening. Having finished his head dress, about an hour before 
sunset, he came up, as he said, to see me, but I and my com 
panions judge^ thtft he came to be seen. To my utter astonish 
ment, I saw three different paintings or figures on one and the 
same face. He had, by his great ingenuity and judgment in lay 
ing on and shading the different colours, made his nose appear, 
when we stood directly in front of him, as if it were very long 
and narrow, with a round knob at the end, much like the upper 
part of a pair of tongs. On one cheek there was a red round 
spot, about the size of an apple, and the other was done in the 
same manner with black. The eye-lids, both the upper and 
lower ones, were reversed in the colouring. When we viewed 
him in profile on one side, his nose represented the beak of an 
eagle, with the bill rounded and brought to a point, precisely as 
those birds have it, though the mouth was somewhat open. The 
eye was astonishingly well done, and the head, upon the whole, 
appeared tolerably well, shewing a great deal of fierceness. 
When we turned round to the other side, the same nose now 
resembled the snout of a pike, with the mouth so open, that the 
teeth could be seen. He seemed much pleased with his execu 
tion, and having his looking-glass with him, he contemplated 
his work, seemingly with great pride and exultation. He asked 
me how I liked it? I answered that if he had done the work 
on a piece of board, bark, or anything else, I should like it very 
well and often look at it. But, asked he, why not so as it is ? 
Because I cannot see the face that is hidden under these colours, 
so as to know who it is. Well, he replied, I must go now, and 
as you cannot know me to-day, I will call to-morrow morning 
before you leave this place. He did so, and when he came back 
he was washed clean again. 

Thus, for a single night s frolic, a whole day is spent in what 
they call dressing, in which each strives to outdo the other. 

When the men paint their thighs, legs and breast, they, gen 
erally, after laying on a thin shading coat of a darkish colour, 


and sometimes of a whitish clay, dip their fingers ends in black 
or red paint, and drawing it on with their outspread fingers, 
bring the streaks to a serpentine form. The garments of some 
of their principal actors are singular, and decorated with such 
a number of gewgaws and trinkets, that it is impossible to give 
a precise description of them. Neither are they all alike in 
taste, every one dressing himself according to his fancy, or the 
custom of the tribe to which he belongs. While the women, 
as I have already said, have thimbles and little bells rattling at 
their ancles, the men have deers claws fixed to their braced 
garters or knee bands, and also to their .shoes, for the same pur 
pose; for they consider jingling and rattling as indispensably 
necessary to their performances in the way of dancing. 

The notion formerly entertained that the Indians are beardless 
by nature and have no hair on their bodies, appears now to be 
exploded and entirely laid aside. I cannot conceive how it is 
possible for any person to pass three weeks only among those 
people, without seeing them pluck out their beards, with twee 
zers made expressly for that purpose. Before the Europeans 
came into the country, their apparatus for performing this work, 
consisted of a pair of muscle shells, sharpened on a gritty stone, 
which answered very well, being somewhat like pincers ; but 
since they can obtain wire, of which that of brass is preferred, 
they make themselves tweezers, which they always carry with 
them in their tobacco-pouch, wherever they go, and when at 
leisure, they pluck out their beards or the hair above their fore 
heads. This they do in a very quick manner, much like the 
plucking of a fowl, and the oftener they pluck out their hair, 
the finer it grows afterwards, so that at last there appears hardly 
any, the whole having been rooted out. The principal reasons 
which they give for thus plucking out their beards and the hair 
next to their foreheads, are that they may have a clean skin to 
lay the paint on, when they dress for their festivals or dances, 
and to facilitate the tattooing themselves, a custom formerly much 
in use among them, especially with those who had distinguished 
themselves by their valour, and acquired celebrity. They say 
that either painting or tattooing on a hairy face or body would 
have a disgusting appearance. 

As late as the year 1762, when I resided at Tuscorawas on 


the Muskingum, tattooing was still practised by some Indians ; 
a valiant chief of that village, named Wawtmdochwalend, desirous 
of having another name given him, had the figure of a water- 
lizard engraved or tattooed on his face, above the chin, when he 
received the name Twakachshawsu, the water-lizard. The pro 
cess of tattooing, which I once saw performed, is quickly done, 
and does not seem to give much pain. They have poplar bark 
in readiness burnt and reduced to a powder, the figures that are 
to be tattooed are marked or designed on the skin ; the operator 
with a small stick, rather larger than a common match, to the 
end of which some sharp needles are fastened, quickly pricks 
over the whole so that blood is drawn, then a coat of this pow 
der is laid and left on to dry. Before the whites came into this 
country, they scarified themselves for this purpose with sharp 
flint stones, or pricked themselves with the sharp teeth of a fish. 
In the year 1742, a veteran warrior of the Lenape nation and 
Monsey tribe, renowned among his own people for his bravery 
and prowess, and equally dreaded by their enemies, joined the 
Christian Indians who then resided at this place. 1 This man, 
who was then at an advanced age, had a most striking appear 
ance, and could not be viewed without astonishment. Besides 
that his body was full of scars, where he had been struck and 
pierced by the arrows of the enemy, there was not a spot to be 
seen, on that part of it which was exposed to view, but what was 
tattooed over with some drawing relative to his achievements, 
so that the whole together struck the beholder with amazement 
and terror. On his whole face, neck, shoulders, arms, thighs 
and legs, as well as on his breast and back, were represented 
scenes of the various actions and engagements he had been in ; 
in short, the whole of his history was there deposited, which 
was well known to those of his nation, and was such that all 
who heard it thought it could never be surpassed by man. 2 Far 

1 Bethlehem. 

2 ["The serenity of Michael s countenance," writes Loskiel, "when he was laid 
in his coffin, contrasted strangely with the figures scarified upon his face when a 
warrior. These were as follows: upon the right cheek and temple, a large snake; 
from the under lip a pole passed over the nose, and between the eyes and the top 
of the forehead, ornamented at every quarter of an inch with round marks, repre 
senting scalps; upon the upper cheek, two lances crossing each other; and upon the 
lower jaw, the head of a wild boar."] 


from. murdering those who were defenceless or unarmed, his 
generosity, as well as his courage and skill in the art of war, 
was acknowledged by all. When, after his conversion, he was 
questioned about his warlike feats, he frankly and modestly 
answered, " That being now taken captive by Jesus Clirist, it 
did not become him to relate the deeds he had done while in 
the service of the evil spirit ; but that he was willing to give an 
account in the manner in which he had been conquered At 
his baptism, on the 23d of December 1742, he received the name 
of Michael, which he preserved until his death, which happened 
on the 23rd of July 1756. He led the life of a true Christian, 
and was always ready and willing to relate the history of his 
conversion, which I heard myself from his own mouth. His 
age, when he died, was supposed to be about eighty years. 

The cutting of the ears, which formerly was practised among 
the Indians, is now no longer so common with them. Their 
reasons for laying this custom aside, are that the operation is 
painful, not only when performed, but until the ears are perfectly 
healed, which takes a long time, and that they often lose that 
part of their ears which is separated from the solid part, by its 
being torn off by the bushes, or falling off when frost-bitten. I 
once heard of a gay Indian setting off on a severe cold morning 
for a neighbouring village not more than three miles distant, 
whose ears had been touched by the frost, and dropped off 
before he arrived at the place to which he was going. He had 
not even felt that he had lost them, and when told of it, he was 
so chagrined that he was going to destroy himself. I have seen 
a great many Indians with torn ears ; but now the custom of 
cutting them is nearly if not entirely disused. 



[HE dances of the Indians vary according to the pur 
poses for which they are intended. We have seen, 
in the second chapter of this work, that when the 
Dutch first landed on New York island, the inhabi 
tants who believed them to be celestial beings, began a solemn 
dance, in order to propitiate them. It is not uncommon for men 
who are deprived of the light of revealed religion, to believe that 
the divinity will be pleased with the same things from which 
they themselves receive pleasure. 

It is a pleasing spectacle to see the Indian dances, when in 
tended merely for social diversion and innocent amusement. I 
acknowledge I would prefer being present at them for a full 
hour, than a few minutes only at such dances as I have witnessed 
in our country taverns among the white people. Their songs 
are by no means unharmonious. They sing in chorus ; first the 
men and then the women. At times the women join in the 
general- song, or repeat the strain which the men have just 
finished. It seems like two parties singing in questions and 
answers, and is upon the whole very agreeable and enlivening. 
After thus singing for about a quarter of an hour, they conclude 
each song with a loud yell, which I must confess is not in con 
cord with the rest of the music; it is not unlike the cat-bird 
which closes its pretty song with mewing like a cat. I do not 
admire this finale. The singing always begins by one person 
only, but others soon fall in successively until the general chorus 
begins, the drum beating all the while to mark the time. The 



voices of the women are clear and full, and their intonations 
generally correct. 

Their war dances have nothing engaging ; their object, on the 
contrary, is to strike terror in the beholders. They are dressed 
and painted, or rather bedaubed with paint, in a manner suitable 
to the occasion. They hold the murderous weapon in their hand, 
and imitate in their dance all the warlike attitudes, motions and 
actions which are usual in an engagement with the enemy, and 
strive to excel each other by their terrific looks and gestures. 
They generally perform round a painted post set up for that 
purpose, in a large room or place enclosed or surrounded with 
posts, and roofed with the bark of trees ; sometimes also this 
dance is executed in the open air. There every man presents 
himself in warrior s array, contemptuously looking upon the 
painted post, as if it was the enemy whom he was about to en 
gage ; as he passes by it he strikes, stabs, grasps, pretends to 
scalp, to cut, to run through ; in short, endeavours to shew 
what he would do to a real enemy, if he had him in his power. 

It was an ancient custom among the Indians to perform this 
dance round a prisoner, and as they danced, to make him 
undergo every kind of torture, previous to putting him to death. 
The prisoner appeared to partake in the merriment, contemp 
tuously scoffing at his executioner, as being unskilled in the art 
of inflicting torments : strange as this conduct may appear, it 
was not without a sufficient motive. The object of the unfortu 
nate sufferer was to rouse his relentless tormentors to such a 
pitch of fury, that some of them might, at an unguarded moment, 
give him the finishing stroke and put him out of his pain. 

Previous to going out on a warlike campaign, the war-dance 
is always performed round the painted post. It is the Indian 
mode of recruiting. Whoever joins in the dance is considered 
as having enlisted for the campaign, and is obliged to go out 
with the party. 

After returning from a successful expedition, a dance of thanks 
giving- is always performed, which partakes of the character of 
a religious ceremony. It is accompanied with singing and 
choruses, in which the women join. But they take no part in 
the rest of the performance. At the end of every song, the 


scalp-yell is shouted as many times as there have been scalps 
taken from the enemy. 

The Indians also meet occasionally for the purpose of recount 
ing their warlike exploits, which is done in a kind of half-singing 
or recitative. The oldest warrior recites first, then they go on in 
rotation and in order of seniority, the drum beating all the time, 
as it were to give to the relation the greater appearance of reality. 
After each has made a short recital in his turn, they begin again 
in the same order, and so continue going the rounds, in a kind 
of alternate chanting, until every one has concluded. On these 
occasions, great care must be taken not to give offence by affect 
ing superiority over the others, for every warrior feels his own 
consequence, and is ready, if insulted, to shew by his actions, 
what he has performed in war and is still able to do. I well 
remember an instance of the kind, when an insulted warrior 
stepped out of the circle in which he was dancing, and struck 
dead the impudent boaster who had offended him. 

Their songs are in general of the warlike or of the tender and 
pathetic kind. They are sung in short sentences, not without 
some kind of measure, harmonious to an Indian ear. The music 
is well adapted to the words, and to me is not unpleasing. I 
would not attempt to give an idea of it by means of our musical 
notes, as has been done by other writers, lest I should be as un 
successful as those who have tried in the same manner to de 
scribe the melodies of the ancient Greeks. It would be well if 
I could describe at one and the same time the whole combination 
of effects which acted upon my ear, but it is vain to endeavour 
to do it partially. It is, indeed, much the same with their po 
etry ; yet I cannot resist the temptation of translating as well as 
I can, the words of the Lenape s song, when they go out to war. 
They sing it, as I give it here, in short lines or sentences, not 
always the whole at one time, but most generally in detached 
parts, as time permits and as the occasion or their feelings 
prompt them. Their accent is very pathetic, and the whole, in 
their language, produces considerable effect. 



" O poor me ! 

Whom am going out to fight the enemy, 
And know not whether I shall return again, 
To enjoy the embraces of my children 
And my wife. 
O poor creature ! 

Whose life is not in his own hands, 
Who has no power over his own body, 
But tries to do his duty 
For the welfare of his nation. 
O ! thou Great Spirit above ! 
Take pity on my children 
And on my wife ! 

Prevent their mourning on my account ! 
Grant that I may be successful in this attempt 
That I may slay my enemy, 
And bring home the trophies of war 
To my dear family and friends, 
That we may rejoice together. 
O ! take pity on me ! 

Give me strength and courage to meet my enemy, 
Suffer me to return again to my children, 
To my wife 
And to my relations ! 
Take pity on me and preserve my life 
And I will make to thee a sacrifice." 

The song of the Wyandot warriors, as translated to me by an 
Indian trader, would read thus : " Now I am going on an errand 
of pleasure O ! God, take pity oh me, and throw good fortune 
in my way grant that I may be successful." 
- Thus their Almighty Creator is always before their eyes on 
all important occasions. They feel and acknowledge his su 
preme power. They also endeavour to propitiate him by out 
ward worship, or sacrifices. 

These are religious solemnities, intended to make themselves 
acceptable to the Great Spirit, to find favor in his sight, and ob 
tain his forgiveness for past errors or offences. It is not, as some 
white persons would lead us to believe, that knowing the Great 
Spirit to be good, they are under no apprehensions from his 
wrath, and that they make sacrifices to the evil spirit, believing 
him alone to be capable of doing them hurt. This cannot be true 


of a people, who, as I have already said in another part, hold it 
as a fixed principle " that good and evil cannot and must not be 
united," who declare and acknowledge the great and good Spirit 
to be " all powerful," and the evil one to be " weak and limited 
in power;" who rely alone on the goodness of the author of 
their existence, and who, before every thing, seek by all the 
means in their power to obtain his favour and protection. For, 
they are convinced, that the evil spirit has no power over them, 
as long as they are in favour with the good one, and to him 
alone, acknowledging his continued goodness to them and their 
forefathers, they look for protection against the Devil, and his 
inferior spirits. 

It is a part of their religious belief, that there are inferior 
Mannittos, to whom the great and good Being has given the rule 
and command over the elements ; that being so great, he, like 
their chiefs, must have his attendants to execute his supreme 
behests; these subordinate spirits (something in their nature 
between God and man) see and report to him what is doing upon 
earth ; they look down particularly upon the Indians, to see 
whether they are in need of assistance, and are ready at their 
call to assist and protect them against danger. 

Thus I have frequently witnessed Indians, on the approach of 
a storm or thunder-gust, address the Mannitto of the air, to 
avert all danger from them ; I have also seen the Chippeways, 
on the Lakes of Canada, pray to the Mannitto of the waters, 
that he might prevent the swells from rising too high, while they 
were passing over them. In both these instances, they expressed 
their acknowledgment, or shewed their willingness to be grate 
ful, by throwing tobacco in the air, or strewing it on the waters. 

There are even some animals, which though they are not con 
sidered as invested with power over them, yet are believed to be 
placed as guardians over their lives ; and of course entitled to 
some notice and to some tokens of gratitude. Thus, when in the 
night, an owl is heard sounding its note, or calling to its mate, 
some person in the camp will rise, and taking some Glicanican, 
or Indian tobacco, will strew it on the fire, thinking that the 
ascending smoke will reach the bird, and that he will see that 
they are not unmindful of his services, and of his kindness to 


them and their ancestors. This custom originated from the fol 
lowing incident, which tradition has handed down to them. 

It happened at one time, when they were engaged in a war 
with a distant and powerful nation, that a body of their warriors 
was in the camp, fast asleep, no kind of danger at that moment 
being apprehended. Suddenly, the great " Sentinel " over man 
kind, the oivl, sounded the alarm; all the birds of the species 
were alert at their posts, all at once calling out, as if saying : 
" Up ! up ! Danger ! Danger ! " Obedient to their call, every 
man jumped up in an instant ; when, to their surprise, they found 
that their enemy was in the very act of surrounding them, and 
they would all have been killed in their sleep, if the owl had not 
given them this timely warning. 

But, amidst all these superstitious notions, the supreme Man- 
nitto, the creator and preserver of heaven and earth, is the great 
object of their adoration. On him they rest their hopes, to him 
they address their prayers and make their solemn sacrifices. 
These religious ceremonies are not always performed in the 
same manner. I had intended to have given some details upon 
this subject, but I find that it has been almost exhausted by 
other writers, 1 although I will not pretend to say that they are 
correct on every point. But I do not wish to repeat things 
which have already been told to the world over and over. There 
fore, if on some subjects, relating to the manners and customs 
of the Indians, I should be thought to have passed over too 
quickly, and not to have sufficiently entered into particulars, let 
it be understood that I have done so to avoid the repetition of 
what others have said, although I am afraid I have been inadver 
tently guilty of it in more than one instance. I would not pre 
sume to communicate my little stock of knowledge, if I did not 
think that it will add something to what is already known. 

I do not recollect that it has already been mentioned, that 
previous to entering upon the solemnity of their sacrifices, the 
Indians prepare themselves by vomiting, fasting, and drinking 
decoctions from certain prescribed plants. This they do to 
expel the evil which is within them, and that they may with 

1 See Loskiel, part I., ch. 3. 


a pure conscience attend to the sacred performance, for such they 
consider it. Nor is the object of those sacrifices always the 
same ; there are sacrifices of prayer and sacrifices of thanks 
giving, some for all the favours received by them and their 
ancestors from the great Being, others for special or particular 
benefits. After a successful war, they never fail to offer up a 
sacrifice to the great Being, to return him thanks for having 
given them courage and strength to destroy or conquer their 



|CALPING is a practice which the Indians say has 
obtained with their nations for ages. I need not 
describe the manner in which the operation is per 
formed, it has been sufficiently done by others. 1 
Indian warriors think it necessary to bring home the scalps of 
those they have killed or disabled, as visible proofs of their 
valour ; otherwise they are afraid that their relations of the 
combat and the account they give of their individual prowess 
might be doubted or disbelieved. Those scalps are dried up, 
painted and preserved as trophies, and a warrior is esteemed in 
proportion to the number of them that he can shew. 

It is a well known fact that the Indians pluck out all their hair 
except one tuft on the crown of their heads, but the reason of 
this exception is not, perhaps, so well understood, which is no 
other than to enable themselves to take off each other s scalps in 
war with greater facility. "When we go to fight an enemy," 
say they, " we meet on equal ground ; and we take ofT each 
other s scalps, if we can. The conqueror, whoever he may be, 
is entitled to have something to shew to prove his bravery and 
his triumph, and it would be ungenerous in a warrior to deprive 
an enemy of the means of acquiring that glory of which he him 
self is in pursuit. A warrior s conduct ought to be manly, else 
he is no man." As this custom prevails among all the Indian 
nations, it would seem, as far as I have known, to be the result 
of a tacit agreement among them, to leave the usual trophies of 

1 See Loskiel, part I., ch. n. 



victory accessible to the contending warriors on all sides ; fear 
ing, perhaps, that if a different custom should be adopted by one 
nation from motives of personal safety, or to destroy the warlike 
reputation of their rivals or enemies, it might be easily imitated 
on the other side, and there would be an end to Indian valour 
and heroism. Indeed, it is certain, that all the weapons which 
the Indians make use of in war are intended for offence, they 
have no breast-plates, helmets, nor any arms or accoutrements 
of the defensive kind, and it is not the least remarkable trait in 
their warlike character, that they make it even a point of honour 
to offer a hold of their persons to their enemy, by which if he 
should be possessed of greater skill or courage than themselves, 
he may not only the more easily destroy them, but is enabled to 
carry home their bloody spoils as trophies of his victory. 

I once remarked to an Indian that if such was their reason for 
letting a tuft of hair grow on the top of their heads, they might 
as well suffer the whole to remain, and I could not perceive why 
they were so careful in plucking it out. To this observation he 
answered : " My friend ! a human being has but one head, and 
one scalp from that head is sufficient to shew that it has been in 
my power. Were we to preserve a whole head of hair as the 
white people do, several scalps might be made out of it, which 
would be unfair. Besides, the coward might thus without danger 
share in the trophies of the brave warrior, and dispute with him 
the honour of victory." 

When the Indians relate their victories, they do not say that 
they have taken so many "scalps" but so many "heads" in 
which they include as well those whom they have scalped, but 
left alive (which is very often * the case), and their prisoners, as 
those whom they have killed. Nor does it follow, when they 
reckon or number the heads of their prisoners, that they have 
been or are to be put to death. 

It is an awful spectacle to see the Indian warriors return home 
from a successful expedition with their prisoners and the scalps 
taken in battle. It is not unlike the return of a victorious army 
from the field, with the prisoners and colours, taken from the 
enemy, but the appearance is far more frightful and terrific. The 

1 For " very often " read " sometimes." 


scalps are carried in front, fixed on the end of a thin pole, about 
five or six inches l in length ; the prisoners follow, and the war 
riors advance shouting the dreadful scalp-yell, which has been 
called by some the death-halloo, but improperly, for the reasons 
which I have already mentioned. For every head taken, dead 
or alive, a separate shout is given. In this yell or whoop, there 
is a mixture of triumph and terror ; its elements, if I may so 
speak, seem to be glory and fear, so as to express at once 
the feelings of the shouting warriors, and those with which they 
have inspired their enemies. 

Different from this yell is the alarm-whoop, which is never 
sounded but when danger is at hand. It is performed in quick 
succession, much as with us the repeated cry of Fire ! Fire ! when 
the alarm is very great and lives are known or believed to be in 
danger. Both this and the scalp-yell consist of the sounds aw 
and oh, successively uttered, the last more accented, and sounded 
higher than the first; but in the scalp-yell, this last sound is 
drawn out at great length, as long indeed as the breath will 
hold, and is raised about an octave higher than the former; 
while in the alarm-whoop, it is rapidly struck on as it were, and 
only a few notes above the other. These yells or whoops are 
dreadful indeed, and well calculated to strike with terror, those 
whom long habit has not accustomed to them. It is difficult to 
describe the impression which the scalp-yell, particularly, makes 
on a person who hears it for the first time. 

I am now come to a painful part of my subject; the manner 
in which the Indians treat the prisoners whom they take in war. 
It must not be expected that I shall describe here the long pro 
tracted tortures which are inflicted on those who are doomed 
to the fatal pile, nor the constancy and firmness which the suf 
ferers display, singing their death songs and scoffing all the while 
at their tormentors. Enough of other writers have painted these 
scenes, with all their disgusting horrors ; nor shall I, a Christian, 
endeavour to excuse or palliate them. But I may be permitted 
to say, that those dreadful executions are by no means so fre 
quent as is commonly imagined. The prisoners are generally 
adopted by the families of their conquerors in the place of lost 
or deceased relations or friends, where they soon become domes- 

1 For "inches" read "feet." 


ticated, and are so kindly treated that they never wish themselves 
away again. I have seen even white men, who, after such adop 
tion, were given up by the Indians in compliance with the stipu 
lations of treaties, take the first opportunity to escape from their 
own country and return with all possible speed to their Indian 
homes ; I have seen the Indians, while about delivering them 
up, put them at night in the stocks, to prevent their escaping 
and running back to them. 

It is but seldom that prisoners are put to death by burning 
and torturing. It hardly ever takes place except when a nation 
has suffered great losses in war, and it is thought necessary to 
revenge the death of their warriors slain in battle, or when wil 
ful and deliberate murders have been committed by an enemy 
of l their innocent women and children, in which case the first 
prisoners taken are almost sure of being sacrificed by way of 
retaliation. But when a war has been successful, or unattended 
with remarkable acts of treachery, or cruelty on the part of the 
enemy, the prisoners receive a milder treatment, and are incor 
porated with the nation of their conquerors. 

Much has been said on the subject of the preliminary cruelties 
inflicted on prisoners when they enter an Indian village with the 
conquering warriors. It is certain that this treatment is very 
severe when a particular revenge is to be exercised, but other 
wise, I can say with truth, that in many instances, it is rather 
a scene of amusement, than a punishment. Much depends on 
the courage and presence of mind of the prisoner. On entering 
the village, he is shewn a painted post at the distance of from 
twenty to forty yards, and told to run to it and catch hold of it 
as quickly as he can. On each side of him stand men, women 
and children, with axes, sticks, and other offensive weapons, 
ready to strike him as he runs, in the same manner as is done 
in the European armies when soldiers, as it is called, run the 
gauntlet. If he should be so unlucky as to fall in the way, he 
will probably be immediately despatched by some person, long 
ing to avenge the death of some relation or friend slain in battle; 
but the moment he reaches the goal, he is safe and protected 
from further insult until his fate is determined. 

1 For " of" read " on." 


If a prisoner in such a situation shews a determined courage, 
and when bid to run for the painted post, starts at once with all 
his might and exerts all his strength and agility until he reaches 
it, he will most commonly escape without much harm, and some 
times without any injury whatever, and on reaching the desired 
point, he will have the satisfaction to hear his courage and bra 
very applauded. But wo to the coward who hesitates, or shews 
any symptoms of fear ! He is treated without much mercy, and 
is happy, at last, if he escapes with his life. 

In the month of April 1782, when I was myself a prisoner at 
Lower Sandusky, waiting for an opportunity to proceed with a 
trader to Detroit, I witnessed a scene of this description which 
fully exemplified what I have above stated. Three American 
prisoners were one day brought in by fourteen warriors from 
the garrison of Fort M Intosh. As soon as they had crossed 
the Sandusky river, to which the village lay adjacent, they were 
told by the Captain of the party to run as hard as they could 
to a painted post which was shewn to them. The youngest of 
the three, without a moment s hesitation, immediately started 
for it, and reached it fortunately without receiving a single blow; 
the second hesitated for a moment, but recollecting himself, he 
also ran as fast as he could and likewise reached the post unhurt ; 
but the third, frightened at seeing so many men, women and 
children with weapons in their hands, ready to strike him, kept 
begging the Captain to spare his life, saying he was a mason, 
and he would build him a fine large stone house, or do any work 
for him that he should please. " Run for your life," cried the 
chief to him, " and don t talk now of building houses ! " But the 
poor fellow still insisted, begging and praying to the Captain, 
who, at last finding his exhortations vain, and fearing the conse 
quences, turned his back upon him, and would not hear him any 
longer. Our mason now began to run, but received many a 
hard blow, one of which nearly brought him to the ground, 
which, if he had fallen, would at once have decided his fate. 
He, however, reached the goal, not without being sadly bruised, 
and he was besides bitterly reproached and scoffed at all round 
as a vile coward, while the others were hailed as brave men, and 
received tokens of universal approbation. 



Indians are in general a strong race of men. It is 
very common to see a hunter come in with a whole 
deer on his back, fastened with a Happis, a kind of 
band with which they carry loads ; it rests against the 
breast, that which the women use rests against the forehead. 
In this manner they will carry a load which many a white man 
would not have strength enough to raise from the ground. An 
Indian, named Samuel, once took the flour which was ground 
out of a bushel of wheat upon his back at sun-rise within two 
miles from Nazareth, and arrived with it in the evening of the 
same day at his camp at Wyoming. When the Indians build 
houses, they carry large logs on their shoulders from the place 
where the tree is cut down to where they are building. 

Nevertheless, when put to agricultural or other manual labour, 
the Indians do not appear so strong as the whites ; at least, they 
cannot endure it so long. Many reasons ma) be given for this, 
besides their not being accustomed to that kind of work. It is 
probably in part to be ascribed to their want of substantial food, 
and their intemperate manner of living; eating, when they have 
it, to excess, and at other times being days and weeks in a state 
of want. Those who have been brought up to regular labour, 
like ourselves, become robust and strong and enjoy good health. 
Such was the case with the Christian Indians in the Moravian 

So late as about the middle of the last century, the Indians 
were yet a hardy and healthy people, and many very aged men 
and women were seen among them, some of whom thought they 



had lived about one hundred years. They frequently told me 
and others that when they were young men, their people did 
not marry so early as they did since, that even at twenty they 
were called boys and durst not wear a breech-cloth, as the men 
did at that time, but had only a small bit of a skin hanging 
before them. Neither, did they say, were they subject to so 
many disorders as in later times, and many of them calculated 
on dying of old age. But since that time a great change has 
taken place in the constitution of those Indians who live nearest 
to the whites. By the introduction of ardent spirits among them, 
they have been led into vices which have brought on disorders 
which they say were unknown before ; their blood became cor 
rupted by a shameful complaint, which the Europeans pretend 
to have received from the original inhabitants of America, while 
these say they had never known or heard of it until the Euro 
peans came among them. Now the Indians are infected with 
it to a great degree ; children frequently inherit it from their 
parents, and after lingering for a few years at last die victims 
to this poison. 

Those Indians who have not adopted the vices of the white 
people live to a good age, from 70 to 90. Few arrive at the age 
of one hundred years. The women, in general, live longer than 
the men. 

The Indians do not appear to be more or less exempt than 
the whites from the common infirmities of old age. I have 
known old men among them who had lost their memory, their 
sight, and their teeth. I have also seen them at eighty in their 
second childhood and not able to help themselves. 

The Indian women are not in general so prolific as those of 
the white race. I imagine this defect is owing to the vicious 
and dissolute life they lead since the introduction of spirituous 
liquors. Among our Christian Indians, we have had a couple 
who had been converted for thirty years and had always led a 
regular life, and who had thirteen children. Others had from 
six to nine. In general, however, the Indians seldom have more 
than four or five children. 

The Indian children, generally, continue two years at the 
breast, and there are instances of their sucking during four years. 


Mothers are very apt to indulge their last child; children in this 
respect enjoy the same privilege alike. 

I have never heard of any nation or tribe of Indians who de 
stroyed their children, when distorted or deformed, whether they 
were so born or came to be so afterwards. I have on the con 
trary seen very particular care taken of such children. Nor have 
I ever been acquainted with any Indians that made use of arti 
ficial means to compress or alter the natural shape of the heads 
of their children, as some travellers have, I believe, pretended. 

The disorders to which the Indians are most commonly sub 
jected are pulmonary consumptions, fluxes, fevers and severe 
rheumatisms, all proceeding probably from the kind of life they 
lead, the hardships they undergo, and the nature of the food that 
they take. Intermitting and bilious fevers set in among them 
regularly in the autumn, when their towns are situated near 
marshy grounds or ponds of stagnant water, and many die in 
consequence of them. I have observed that these fevers gener 
ally make their first appearance in the season of the wild plum, 
a fruit that the Indians are particularly fond of. Sometimes 
also after a famine or long suffering for want of food, when they 
generally make too free an use of green maize, squashes and 
other watery vegetables. They are also subject to a disease 
which they call the yellow vomit, which, at times, carries off 
many of them. They generally die of this disease on the second 
or third day after the first attack. 

Their old men are very subject to rheumatisms in the back 
and knees ; I have known them at the age of 50 or 60 to be laid 
up for weeks and months at a time on this account, and I have 
seen boys 10 and 12 years of age, who through colds or fits of 
sickness had become so contracted that they never afterwards 
recovered the use of their limbs. 

Worms are a very common disorder among Indian children, 
and great numbers of them die from that cause. They eat a 
great deal of green corn when in the milk, with beans, squashes, 
melons, and the like; their bellies become remarkably large, 
and it is probably in that manner that the worms are generated. 
I rather think that Indian children suffer less in teething than 
the whites. 


The gout, gravel, and scrofula or king s evil, are not known 
among the Indians. Nor have I ever known any one that had 
the disorder called the Rickets. Consumptions are very frequent 
among them since they have become fond of spirituous liquors, 
and their young men in great numbers fall victims to that com 
plaint. A person who resides among them may easily observe 
the frightful decrease of their numbers from one period of ten 
years to another. Our vices have destroyed them more tnarr 
our swords. 



>HE Materia Medica of the Indians consists of various 
roots and plants known to themselves, the properties 
of which they are not fond of disclosing to strangers. 
They make considerable use cf the barks of trees, 
such as the white and black oak, the white walnut, of which 
they make pills, the cherry, dogwood, maple, birch, and several 
others. They prepare and compound these medicines in differ 
ent ways, which they keep a profound secret. Those prepara 
tions are frequently mixed with superstitious practices, calculated 
to guard against the powers of witchcraft, in which, unfortunate 
ly, they have a strong fixed belief. Indeed, they are too apt to 
attribute the most natural deaths to the arts and incantations of 
sorcerers, and their medicine is, in most cases, as much directed 
against those as against the disease itself. There are, however, 
practitioners among them who are free from these prejudices, or 
at least do not introduce them into their practice of the medical 
art. Still there is a superstitious notion, in which all their 
physicians participate, which is, that when an emetic is to be 
administered, the water in which the potion is mixed must be 
drawn up a stream, and if for a cathartic downwards. This is. at 
least, innocent, and not more whimsical perhaps, nor more cal 
culated to excite a smile, than some theories of grave and 
learned men in civilised countries. 

In fevers the Indians usually administer emetics which are 
made up and compounded in various ways. I saw an emetic 
once given to a man who had poisoned himself with the root of 



the May Apple. 1 It consisted of a piece of raccoon skin burned 
with the hair on and finely powdered, pounded dry beans and 
gunpowder. These three ingredients were mixed with water 
and poured down the patient s throat. This .brought on a severe 
vomiting, the poisonous root was entirely discharged and the 
man cured. 

In other complaints, particularly in those which proceed from 
rheumatic affections, bleeding and sweating are always the first 
remedies applied. The sweat oven is the first thing that an 
Indian has recourse to when he feels the least indisposed; it is 
the place to which the weaned traveller, hunter, or warrior looks 
for relief from the fatigues he has endured, the cold he has 
caught, or the restoration of his lost appetite. 

This oven is made of different sizes, so as to accommodate 
from two to six persons at a time, or according to the number 
of men in the village, so that they may be all successively 
sei ved. It is generally built on a bank or slope, one half of 
it within and the other above ground. It is well covered on the 
top with split plank and earth, and has a door in front, where 
the ground is level to go or rather to creep in. Here, on the 
outside, stones, generally of about the size of a large turnip, are 
heated by one or more men appointed each day for that pur 
pose. While the oven is heating, decoctions from roots or 
plants are prepared either by the person himself who intends to 
sweat, or by one of the men of the village, who boils a large 
kettleful for the general use, so that when the public cryer going 
his rounds, calls out Pimook ! " go to sweat! " every one brings 
his small kettle, which is filled for him with the potion, which 
at the same time serves him as a medicine, promotes a profuse 
perspiration, and quenches his thirst. As soon as a sufficient 
number have come to the oven, a number of the hot stones are 
rolled into the middle of it, and the sweaters go in, seating 
themselves or rather squatting round those stones, and there 
they remain until the sweat ceases to flow ; then they come out, 
throwing a blanket or two about them that they may not catch 
cold ; in the mean while, fresh heated stones are thrown in for 

1 Podophyllum peltatum. 


those who follow them. While they are in the oven, water is 
now and then poured on the hot stones to produce a steam, 
which they say, increases the heat, and gives suppleness to 
their limbs and joints. In rheumatic complaints, the steam is 
produced by a decoction of boiled roots, and the patient during 
the operation is well wrapped up in blankets, to keep the cold 
air from him, and promote perspiration at the same time. 

Those sweat ovens are generally at some distance from an 
Indian village, where wood and water are always at hand. The 
best order is preserved at those places. The women have their 
separate oven in a different direction from that of the men, and 
subjected to the same rules. The men generally sweat them 
selves once and sometimes twice a week ; the women have no 
fixed day for this exercise, nor do they use it as often as the 

In the year I784, 1 a gentleman whom I had been acquainted 
with at Detroit, and who had been for a long time in an infirm 
state of health, came from thence to the village of the Christian 
Indians on the Huron river, in order to have the benefit of the 
sweat oven. It being in the middle of winter, when there was a 
deep snow on the ground, and the weather was excessively cold, 
I advised him to postpone his sweating to a warmer season ; 
but he persisting in his resolution, I advised him by no means 
to remain in the oven longer than fifteen or at most twenty 
minutes. But when he once was in it, feeling himself comforta 
ble, he remained a full hour, at the end of which he fainted, and 
was brought by two strong Indians to my house, in very great 
pain and not able to walk. He remained with me until the 
next day, when we took him down in his sleigh to his family at 
Detroit. His situation was truly deplorable; -his physicians at 
that place gave up all hopes of his recovery, and he frequently 
expressed his regret that he had not followed my advice. Sud 
denly, however, a change took place for the better, and he not 
only recovered his perfect health, but became a stout corpulent 

1 [Mr. Heckewelder was in this year residing at New Gnadenhutten on the 
Huron (now the Clinton), Michigan, where the Moravian Missionaries ministered to 
their converts for upwards of three years, subsequent to their compulsory evacuation 
of the Tuscarawas valley.] 


man, so that he would often say, that his going into the sweat 
oven was the best thing he had ever done in his life for the 
benefit of his health. He said so to me fifteen years afterwards 
when I saw him in the year 1798. He had not had the least 
indisposition since that time. He died about the year 1814, at 
an advanced age. 



Y these names I mean to distinguish the good and 
honest practitioners who are in the habit of curing 
and healing diseases and wounds, by the simple appli 
cation of natural remedies, without any mixture of 
superstition in the manner of preparing or administering them. 
They are very different from the doctors or jugglers, of whom 
I shall speak in the next chapter. In one point, only, they seem 
to participate in their ridiculous notions, that is, in the different 
manner, which I have already noticed, of drawing water up or 
down the current of a stream, as it is to be respectively em 
ployed as a vehicle for an emetic or a cathartic. This singular 
idea prevails generally among the Indians of all classes. They 
think that as the one remedy is to work upwards and the other 
downwards, care should be taken in the preparation to follow 
the course of nature, so that no confusion should take place in 
the stomach or bowels of the patient. 

With this only exception the Indian physicians are perhaps 
more free from fanciful theories than those of any other nation 
upon earth. Their science is entirely founded on observation, 
experience and the well tried efficacy of remedies. There are 
physicians of both sexes, who take considerable pains to acquire 
a correct knowledge of the properties and medical virtues of 
plants, roots and barks, for the benefit of their fellow-men. They 
are very careful to have at all times a full assortment of their 
medicines on hand, which they gather and collect at the proper 
seasons, sometimes fetching them from the distance of several 



days journey from their homes, then they cure or dry them 
properly, tie them up in small bundles, and preserve them for 
use. It were to be wished that they were better skilled in the 
quantity of the medicines which they administer. But they are 
too apt, in general, to give excessive doses, on the mistaken 
principle that " much of a good thing must necessarily do much 

Nevertheless, I must say, that their practice in general suc 
ceeds pretty well. I have myself been benefited and cured by 
taking their emetics and their medicines in fevers, and by being 
sweated after their manner while labouring under a stubborn 
rheumatism. I have also known many, both whites and Indians, 
who have with the same success resorted to Indian physicians 
while labouring under diseases. The wives of Missionaries, in 
every instance in which they had to apply to the female phy 
sicians, for the cure of complaints peculiar to their sex, expe 
rienced good results from their abilities. They are also well 
skilled in curing wounds and bruises. I once for two days and 
two nights, suffered the most excruciating pain from a felon or 
whitlow on one of my fingers, which deprived me entirely of 
sleep. I had recourse to an Indian woman, who in less than 
half an hour relieved me entirely by the simple application of a 
poultice made of the root of the common blue violet. 

Indeed, it is in the cure of external wounds that they particu 
larly excel. Not only their professional men and women, but 
every warrior is more or less acquainted with the healing prop 
erties of roots and plants, which is, in a manner, indispensable 
to them, as they are so often in danger of being wounded in 
their engagements with the enemy. Hence this branch of 
knowledge is carried to a great degree of perfection among 
them. I firmly believe that there is no wound, unless it should 
be absolutely mortal, or beyond the skill of our own good prac- 
titioners / which an Indian surgeon (I mean the best of them) will 
not succeed in healing. I once knew a noted Shawano, who 
having, out of friendship, conducted several white traders in 
safety to Pittsburgh, while they were sought for by other Indians 
who wanted to revenge on them the murders committed by white 
men of some of their people, was on his return fired at by some 


white villains, who had waylaid him for that purpose, and shot 
in the breast. This man, when I saw him, had already travelled 
eighty miles, with a wound from which blood and a kind of 
watery froth issued every time he breathed. Yet he told me he 
was sure of being cured, if he could only reach Wakctemeki, a 
place fifty miles distant, where there were several eminent In 
dian surgeons. To me and others who examined the wound, it 
appeared incurable ; nevertheless, he reached the place and was 
perfectly cured. I saw him at Detroit ten years afterwards ; he 
was in sound health and grown to be a corpulent man. Nine 
years after this I dined with him at the same place. 



CALL these men Doctors, because it is the name 
given them by their countrymen who have borrowed 
it from our language, 1 and they are themselves very 
fond of this pompous title. They are a set of profes 
sional impostors, who, availing themselves of the superstitious 
prejudices of the people, acquire the name and reputation of men 
of superior knowledge, and possessed of supernatural powers. 
As the Indians in general believe in witchcraft, and ascribe, as I 
have already said, to the arts of sorcerers many of the disorders 
with which they are afflicted in the regular course of nature, this 
class of men has risen among them, who pretend to be skilled in 
a certain occult science, by means of which they are able not 
only to cure natural diseases, but to counteract or destroy the 
enchantments of wizards or witches, and expel evil spirits. 

These men are physicians, like the others of whom I have 
spoken, and like them are acquainted with the properties and 
virtues of plants, barks, roots, and other remedies. They differ 
from them only by their pretensions to a superior knowledge, 
and by the impudence with which they impose upon the credu 
lous. I am sorry that truth obliges me to confess, that in their 
profession they rank above the honest practitioners. They pre 
tend that there are disorders which cannot be cured by the ordi 
nary remedies, and to the treatment of which the talents of 

1 They call them Doctols ; because the Indians cannot pronounce the letter P 
The Minsi or Monseys call them "Medeu," which signifies " conjuror." 



common physicians are inadequate. They say that when a com 
plaint has been brought on by witchcraft, more powerful reme 
dies must be applied, and measures must be taken to defeat the 
designs of the person who bewitched the unfortunate patient. 
This can only be done by removing or destroying the deleteri 
ous or deadening substance which has been conveyed into them, 
or, if it is an evil spirit, to confine or expel him, or banish him 
to a distant region from whence he may never return. 

When the juggler has succeeded in persuading his patient that 
his disorder is such that no common physician has it in his 
power to relieve, he will next endeavour to convince him of the 
necessity of making him very strong, which means, giving him a 
large fee, which he will say, is justly due to a man who, like 
himself, is able to perform such difficult things. If the patient 
who applies, is rich, the Doctor -will never fail, whatever the com 
plaint may be, to ascribe it to the powers of witchcraft, and 
recommend himself as the only person capable of giving relief 
in such a hard and complicated case. The poor patient, there 
fore, if he will have the benefit of the great man s advice and 
assistance, must immediately give him his honorarium, which is 
commonly either a fine horse, or a good rifle-gun, a considerable 
quantity of wampum, or goods to a handsome amount. When 
this fee is well secured, and not before, the Doctor prepares for 
the hard task that he has undertaken, with as much apparent 
labour as if he was about to remove a mountain. He casts his 
eyes all round him to attract notice, puts on grave and important 
looks, appears wrapt in thought and meditation and enjoys for 
a while the admiration of the spectators. At last he begins his 
operation. Attired in a frightful dress, he approaches his patient, 
with a variety of contortions and gestures, and performs by his 
side and over him all the antic tricks that his imagination can 
suggest. He breathes on him, blows in his mouth, and squirts 
some medicines which he has prepared in his face, mouth and 
nose ; he rattles his gourd filled with dry beans or pebbles, pulls 
out and handles about a variety of sticks and bundles in which 
he appears to be seeking for the proper remedy, all which is 
accompanied with the most horrid gesticulations, by which he 
endeavours, as he says, to frighten the spirit or the disorder 


away, and continues in this manner until he is quite exhausted 
and out of breath, when he retires to wait the issue. 

The visits of the juggler are, if the patient requires it, repeated 
from time to time ; not, however, without his giving a fresh fee 
previous to each visit. This continues until the property of the 
patient is entirely exhausted, or until he resolves upon calling 
in another doctor, with whom feeing must begin anew in the 
same manner that it did with his predecessor. 

When at length the art of the juggling tribe has after repeated 
trials proved ineffectual, the patient is declared incurable. The 
doctors will say, that he applied to them too late, that he did 
not exactly follow their prescriptions, or sometimes, that he 
was bewitched by one of the greatest masters of the science, 
and that unless a professor can be found possessed of superior 
knowledge, he is doomed to die or linger in pain beyond the 
power of relief. 

Thus these jugglers carry on their deceit, and enrich them 
selves at the expense of the credulous and foolish. I have 
known instances in which they declared a patient perfectly 
cured and out of all danger, who nevertheless died of his dis 
order a very few days afterwards, although his docters affirmed 
that the evil spirit or the effects of witchcraft were entirely 
removed from him ; on the other hand, I have seen cases in 
which the patient recovered after being pronounced incurable 
and condemned to die. In those cases, however, he had had the 
good sense to apply to some of the honest physicians of one 
or the other sex, who had relieved him by a successful appli 
cation of their medicines. 

The jugglers dress, when in the exercise of their functions, 
exhibits a most frightful sight. I had no idea of the import 
ance of these men, until by accident I met with one, habited in 
his full costume. As I was once walking through the street 
of a large Indian village on the Muskingum, with the. chief 
Gelelemend* whom we call Kill-buck, one of those monsters 

1 [Gelelemend,?. <?., a leader, (whose soubriquet among the, whites was Kill-buck,) 
a grandson of the well-known Netawatwes, was sometime chief counsellor of the 
Turkey tribe of the Delaware nation, and after the death of Captain White Eyes, 
installed temporarily as principal chief. He was a strenuous advocate of peace 


suddenly came out of the house next to me, at whose sight I 
was so frightened, that I flew immediately to the other side of 
the chief, who observing my agitation and the quick strides I 
made, asked me what was the matter, and what I thought it 
was that I saw before me. " By its outward appearance," an 
swered I, " I would think it a bear, or some such ferocious ani 
mal, what is inside I do not know, but rather judge it to be the 
Evil Spirit" My friend Kill-buck smiled, and replied, " O ! no, 
no ; don t believe that ! it is a man you well know, it is our 
Doctor." " A Doctor ! " said I, " what ! a human being to trans 
form himself so as to be taken for a bear walking on his hind legs, 
and with horns on his head? You will not, surely, deceive me; 
if it is not a bear, it must be some other ferocious animal that 
I have never seen before." The juggler within the dress hearing 
what passed between us, began to act over some of his curious 
pranks, probably intending to divert me, as he saw I was looking 
at him with great amazement, not unmixed with fear; but the 
more he went on with his performance, the more I was at a loss 
to decide, whether he was a human being or a bear; for he imi 
tated that animal in the greatest perfection, walking upright on 
his hind legs as I had often seen it do. At last I renewed my 
questions to the chief, and begged him seriously to tell me what 
that figure was, and he assured me that although outside it had 
the appearance of a bear, yet inside there was a man, and that 
it was our doctor going to visit one of his patients who was 
bewitched. A dialogue then ensued between us, which I shall 
relate, as well as I can recollect it, in its very words : 

HECKEW. But why does he go dressed in that manner ? 

among his people in the times of the Revolutionary war; and being a man of influ 
ence, drew upon himself, in consequence, the implacable animosity of those of his 
countrymen who took up arms against the Americans. Even after the general peace 
concluded between the United States and the Indians of the West in 1 795, his life 
was on several occasions imperilled by his former opponents. Gelelemend united 
with the Moravian Indians, at Salem, on the Petquotting in the summer of 1788, 
where, in baptism, he was named William Henry, after Judge William Henry, of 
Lancaster. He died at Goshen, in the early winter of 1811, in the eightieth year of 
his age. He is said to have been born in 1737, in the neighborhood of the Lehigh 
Water Gap, Carbon County, Pa. William Henry Gelelemend was one of the last con 
verts of distinction attached to the Moravian Mission among the Indians.] 


Won t his patient be frightened to death on seeing him enter 
the house? 

KILLB. No ! indeed, no ; it is the disorder, the evil spirit, 
that will be frightened away ; as to the sick man, he well knows 
that unless the doctor has recourse to the most powerful means, 
he cannot be relieved, but must fall a sacrifice to the wicked will 
of some evil person. And, pray, don t your doctors in obstinate 
and dubious cases, also recur to powerful means in order to 
relieve their patients ? 

HECKEW. To my knowledge, there are no cases where witch 
craft is assigned as the cause of a disorder, of course our doctors 
have nothing to do with that ; and though they may sometimes 
have occasion to apply powerful remedies in obstinate diseases, 
yet it is not done by dressing themselves like wild beasts, to 
frighten, as you say, the disorder away. Were our doctors to 
adopt this mode, they would soon be left without patients and 
without bread ; they would starve. 

KILLB. Our doctors are the richest people among us, they 
have everything they want ; fine horses to ride, fine clothes to 
wear, plenty of strings and belts of wampum, and silver arm 
and breast plates in abundance. 

HECKEW. And our doctors have very fine horses and car 
riages, fine houses, fine clothes, plenty of good provisions and 
wines, and plenty of money besides ! They are looked upon as 
gentlemen, and would not suffer your doctor, dressed as he is, 
to come into their company. 

KILLB. You must, my friend ! consider that the cases are 
very different Had the white people sorcerers among them 
as the Indians have, they would find it necessary to adopt our 
practice and apply our remedies in the same manner that our 
doctors do. They would find it necessary to take strong measures 
to counteract and destroy the dreadful effects of witchcraft. 

HECKEW. The sorcerers that you speak of exist only in your 
imagination ; rid yourselves of this, and you will hear no more 
of them. 

The dress this juggler had on, consisted of an entire garment 
or outside covering, made of one or more bear skins, as black 
as jet, so well fitted and sewed together, that the man was not 


in any place to be perceived. The whole head of the bear, 
including the mouth, nose, teeth, ears, &c., appeared the same 
as when the animal was living; so did the legs with long claws; 
to this were added a huge pair of horns on the head, and behind 
a large bushy tail, moving as he walked, as though it were on 
springs; but for these accompaniments, the man, walking on 
all fours, might have been taken for a bear of an extraordinary 
size. Underneath, where his hands were, holes had been cut, 
though not visible to the eye, being covered with the long hair, 
through which he held and managed his implements, and he 
saw through two holes set with glass. The whole was a great 
curiosity, but not to be looked at by everybody. 

There are jugglers of another kind, in general old men and 
women, who although not classed among doctors or physicians, 
yet get their living by pretending to supernatural knowledge. 
Some pretend that they can bring down rain in dry weather 
when wanted, others prepare ingredients, which they sell to bad 
hunters, that they may have good luck, and others make philters 
or love potions for such married persons as either do not, or 
think they cannot love each other. 

When one of these jugglers is applied to to bring down rain 
in a dry season, he must in the first instance receive a fee. This 
fee is made up by the women, who, as cultivators of the land are 
supposed to be most interested, but the men will slily slip some 
thing in their hands in aid of their collection, which consists of 
wampum beads, tobacco, silver broaches, and a dressed deer skin 
to make shoes of. If the juggler does not succeed in his experi 
ment, he never is in want of an excuse ; either the winds are in 
opposition to one another, the dry wind or air is too powerful 
for the moist or south wind, or he has not been made strong 
enough, (that is sufficiently paid,) to compel the north to give 
way to the south from whence the rain is to come, or lastly, he 
wants time to invoke the great Spirit to aid him on the im 
portant occasion. 

In the summer of the year 1799, a most uncommon drouth 
happened in the Muskingum country, so that every thing grow 
ing, even the grass and the leaves of the trees, appeared perish 
ing; an old man named Chenos, who was born on the river 


Delaware, was applied to by the women to bring down rain, and 
was well feed for the purpose. Having failed in his first attempt, 
he was feed a second time, and it happened that one morning, 
when my business obliged me to pass by the place where he was 
at work, as I knew him very well, I asked him at once what he 
was doing? "I am hired," said he, "to do a very hard day s 

Q. And, pray, what work ? 

A. Why, to bring down rain from the sky. 

Q. Who hired you to do that ? 

A. The women of the village ; don t you see how much rain 
is wanted, and that the corn and every thing else is perishing ? 

Q. But can you make it rain ? 

A. I can, and you shall be convinced of it this very day. 

He had, by this time, encompassed a square of about five feet 
each way, with stakes and barks so that it might resemble a pig 
pen of about three feet in height, and now, with his face uplifted 
and turned towards the north, he muttered something, then 
closely shutting up with bark the opening which had been left 
on the north side, he turned in the same manner, still muttering 
some words, towards the south, as if invoking some superior 
being, and having cut through the bark on the southwest corner, 
so as to make an opening of two feet, he said : " now we shall 
have rain enough ! " Hearing down the river the sound of setting 
poles striking against a canoe, he enquired of me what it was ? 
I told him it was our Indians going up the river to make a bush 
net for fishing. " Send them home again ! " said he, " tell them 
that this will not be a fit day for fishing ! " I told him to let 
them come on and speak to them himself, if he pleased. He 
did so, and as soon as they came near him, he told them that 
they must by no means think of fishing that day, for there 
should come a heavy rain which would wet them all through. 
" No matter, Father ! " answered they in a jocular manner, 
" give us only rain and we will cheerfully bear the soaking." 
They then passed on, and I proceeded to Goschachking^ the 
village to which I was going. 1 I mentioned the circumstance 

1 [Goschachking, sometime the capital of the Delaware nation, stood on the Muskin- 
gum, immediately below the junction of the Tuscarawas and the Walhonding. On 
its site stands Coshocton. The town was destroyed by Gen. Brodhead in 1781.] 


to the chief of the place, and told him that I thought it impos 
sible that we should have rain while the sky was so clear as it 
then was and had been for near five weeks together, without its 
being previously announced by some signs or change in the at 
mosphere. But the chief answered : " Chenos knows very well 
what he is about; he can at any time predict what the weather 
will be ; he takes his observations morning and evening from 
the river or something in it." On my return from this place 
after three o clock in the afternoon, the sky still continued the 
same until about four o clock, when all at once the horizon be 
came overcast, and without any thunder or wind it began to rain, 
and continued so for several hours together, until the ground 
became thoroughly soaked. 

I am of the opinion that this man, like others whom I have 
known, was a strict observer of the weather, and that his pre 
diction that day was made in consequence of his having ob 
served some signs in the sky or in the water, which his ex 
perience had taught him to be the forerunners of rain ; yet the 
credulous multitude did not fail to ascribe it to his supernatural 

The ingredients for a bad hunter, to make him have good 
luck, are tied up in a bit of cloth, and must be worn near his 
skin while he is hunting. The preparations intended to create 
love between man and wife, are to be slily conveyed to the frigid 
party by means of his victuals or drink. 



REAT and powerful as the Indian conceives himself 
to be, firm and undaunted as he really is, braving all 
seasons and weathers, careless of dangers, patient of 
hunger, thirst and cold, and fond of displaying the 
native energy of his character even in the midst of tortures, at 
the very thought of which our own puny nature revolts and 
shudders; this Lord of the Creation, whose life is spent in a 
state of constant warfare against the wild beasts of the forest 
and the savages of the wilderness, who, proud of his independent 
existence, strikes his breast with exultation and exclaims " / am 
a man!" the American Indian has one weak side, which sinks 
him down to the level of the most fearful and timid being, a 
childish apprehension of an occult and unknown power, which, 
unless he can summon sufficient fortitude to conquer it, changes 
at once the hero into a coward. It is incredible to what a de-- 
gree the Indians superstitious belief in witchcraft operates upon 
their minds ; the moment that their imagination is struck with 
the idea that they are bewitched, they are no longer themselves ; 
their fancy is constantly at work in creating the most horrid and 
distressing images. They see themselves falling a sacrifice to the 
wicked arts of a vile unknown hand, of one who would not have 
dared to face them in fair combat; dying a miserable, ignomin 
ious death; a death, to which they would a thousand times pre 
fer the stake with all its horrors. No tale, no tradition, no 
memorial of their courage or heroic fortitude will go down with 
it to posterity ; it will be thought that they were not deserving 



of a better fate. And, (O ! dreadful thought to an Indian mind !) 
that death is to remain forever unrevenged ; their friends, their 
relations, the men of their own tribe, will seek the murderer in 
vain ; they will seek him while, perhaps, he is in the midst of 
them, unnoticed and unknown, smiling at their impotent rage, 
and calmly selecting some new victim to his infernal art. 

Of this extraordinary power of their conjurers, of the causes 
which produce it, and the manner in which it is acquired, the 
Indians as may well be supposed, have not a very definite idea. 
All they can say is that the sorcerer makes use of a " deadening 
substance," which he discharges and conveys to the person that 
he means to " strike" through the air, by means of the wind or 
of his own breath, or throws at him in a manner which they can 
neither understand nor describe. The person thus " stricken" is 
immediately seized with an unaccountable terror, his spirits 
sink, his appetite fails, he is disturbed in his sleep, he pines and 
wastes away, or a fit of sickness seizes him, and he dies at last a 
miserable victim to the workings of his own imagination. 

Such are their ideas and the melancholy effects of the dread 
they feel of that supernatural power which they vainly fancy to 
exist among them. That they can destroy one another by 
means of poisonous roots and plants, is certainly true, but in 
this there is no witchcraft. This prejudice that they labour 
under can be ascribed to no other cause than their excessive 
ignorance and credulity. I was once acquainted with a white 
man, a shrewd and correct observer, who had lived long among 
the Indians, and being himself related to an Indian family, had 
the best opportunities of obtaining accurate information on this 
subject. He told me that he had found the means of getting 
into the confidence of one of their most noted sorcerers, who 
had frankly confessed to him, that his secret consisted in 
exciting fear and suspicion, and creating in the multitude a 
strong belief in his magical powers, " For," said he, " such is the 
credulity of many, that if I only pick a little wool from my 
blanket, and roll it between my fingers into a small round 
ball, not larger than a bean, I am by that alone believed to be 
deeply skilled in the magic art, and it is immediately supposed 
that I am preparing the deadly substance with which I mean to 


strike some person or other, although I hardly know myself at 
the time what my fingers are doing ; and if, at that moment, I 
happen to cast my eyes on a particular man, or even throw 
a side glance at him, it is enough to mak? him consider himself 
as the intended victim ; he is from that instant effectually struck, 
and if he is not possessed of great fortitude, so as to be able to 
repel the thought, and divert his mind from it, or to persuade 
himself that it is nothing but the work of a disturbed imagina 
tion, he will sink under the terror thus created, and at last perish 
a victim, not indeed, to witchcraft, but to his own credulity and 

But men of such strong minds are not often to be found ; so 
deeply rooted is the belief of the Indians in those fancied super 
natural powers. It is vain to endeavour to convince them by 
argument that they are entirely founded in delusion and have 
no real existence. The attempt has been frequently made by 
sensible white men, but always without success. The following 
anecdote will shew how little hope there is of ever bringing 
them to a more rational way of thinking. 

Sometime about the year 1776, a Quaker trader of the name 
of John Anderson, who among the Indians was called the honest 
Quaker trader, after vainly endeavouring to convince those peo 
ple by argument that there was no such thing as witchcraft, 
took the bold, and I might say the rash, solution to put their 
sorcerers to the test, and defy the utmost exertions of their 
pretended supernatural powers. He desired that two of those 
magicians might be brought successively before him on differ 
ent days, who should be at liberty to try their art on his person, 
and do him all the harm that they could by magical means, in 
the presence of the chiefs and principal men of the village. 
The Indians tried at first to dissuade him from so dangerous an 
experiment; but he persisted, and at last they acceded to his 
demand; a conjurer was brought to him, who professed him 
self fully competent to the task for which he was called, but he 
could not be persuaded to make the attempt. He declared that 
Anderson was so good and so honest a man, so much his friend 
and the friend of all the Indians, that he could not think of 
doing him an injury. He never practised his art but on bad 


men and on those who had injured him ; the great Mannitto 
forbid that he should use it for such a wicked purpose as that 
for which he was now called upon. 

The Indians found this excuse perfectly good, and retired 
more convinced than ever of the abilities of their conjurer, 
whom they now revered for his conscientious scruples. 

The one who was brought on the next day was of a different 
stamp. He was an arch sorcerer, whose fame was extended far 
and wide, and was much dreaded by the Indians, not only on 
account of his great powers, but of the wicked disposition of 
his mind. Every effort was made to dissuade Mr. Anderson 
from exposing himself to what was considered as certain 
destruction ; but he stood firm to his purpose, and only stipu 
lated that the magician should sit at the distance of about 
twelve feet from him ; that he should not be armed with any 
weapon, nor carry any poison or any thing else of a known 
destructive nature, and that he should not even rise from his 
seat, nor advance towards him during the operation. All this 
was agreed to, the conjurer boasting that he could effect his 
purpose even at the distance of one hundred miles. The promised 
reward was brought and placed in full view, and both parties 
now prepared for the experiment. 

The spectators being all assembled, the sorcerer took his seat, 
arrayed in the most frightful manner that he could devise. 
Anderson stood firm and composed before him at the stipulated 
distance. All were silent and attentive while the wizard began 
his terrible operation. He began with working with his fingers 
on his blanket, plucking now and then a little wool and breath 
ing on it, then rolling it together in small rolls of the size of a 
bean, and went through all the antic tricks to which the power 
of bewitching is generally ascribed. But all this had no effect. 
Anderson remained cool and composed, now and then calling 
to his antagonist not to be sparing of his exertions. The con 
jurer now began to make the most horrid gesticulations, and 
used all the means in his power to frighten the honest Quaker, 
who, aware of his purpose, still remained unmoved. At last, 
while the eyes of all the spectators were fixed on this brave 
man, to observe the effects of the sorcerer s craft upon him, this 


terrible conjurer, finding that all his efforts were in vain, found 
himself obliged to give up the point, and alleged for his excuse 
" that the Americans l eat too much salt provisions ; that salt 
had a repulsive effect, which made the powerful invisible sub 
stance that he employed recoil upon him ; that the Indians, who 
eat but little salt, had often felt the effects of this substance, but 
that the great quantity of it which the white men used effectually 
protected them against it." 

The imposition in this instance was perfectly clear and visible, 
and nothing was so easy as to see through this sorcerer s miser 
able pretence, and be convinced that his boasted art was entirely 
a deception ; but it was not so with the Indians, who firmly be 
lieved that the salt which the Americans 1 used was the only 
cause of his failure in this instance, and that if it had not been 
for the salted meat which Mr. Anderson fed upon, he would 
have fallen a victim as well as others to the incantations of this 

I have received this story from the mouth of Mr. Anderson 
himself, who was a most respectable gentleman, and also from 
several credible Indians who were present at the time. After 
this bold and unsuccessful experiment, it is impossible to expect 
that the superstitious notions of the Indians on the subject of 
witchcraft can ever by any means be rooted out of their minds. 2 

1 For "Americans" read "white men." 11 

2 The following extract from the Detroit Gazette, shews that this superstitious be 
lief of the Indians in the powers of witchcraft, still continues in full force, even 
among those who live in the vicinity of the whites, and are in the habit of constant 
intercourse with them. 

From the Detroit Gazette of the I jth of August, 1818. 

On the evening of the 22d ult. an Indian of the Wyandot tribe was murdered by 
some of his relatives, near the mouth of the river Huron, on lake Erie. The circum 
stances, in brief, are as follows : 

" It appears that two Wyandots, residing at Maiden, and relatives to the deceased, 
had been informed by Captain Johnny, an Indian living on the Huron river, and also 
a relative, that a Shawanee Indian had come to his death by the witchcraft of an old 
Indian woman and her son Mike, and that in order to avert the vengeance of the 
Shawanee tribe, it would be necessary to kill them and furthermore, that the death 
of -Walk-in-the-water, who died last June, was caused by the same old woman s 
witchcraft. It was determined to kill the old woman and her son and for that 
purpose they crossed over on the 22d ult. and succeeded in the course of the evening 


in killing the latter in his cabin. The old woman was not at home. The next day, 
while endeavouring to persuade her to accompany them into the woods, as they said, 
to drink whiskey, they were discovered by Dr. William Brown and Mr. Oliver Wil 
liams, who had received that morning intimations of their intentions, and owing to 
the exertions of these gentlemen, the old woman s life was preserved and one of the 
Indians taken, who is now confined in the jail of this city the others escaped by 
swiftness of foot. 

" On the examination of the Indian taken, it appeared that the old woman, shortly 
after the death of the Shawanee, had entered his cabin, and in a voice of exultation, 
called upon him, saying Shawanee man! where are you? You that mocked 
me; you thought you would live forever you are gone and I am here come 
Why do you not come ? &c. She is said to have made use of nearly the same 
words in the cabin of Walk-in-the-water, shortly after his death." 



DO not know how to give a better name to a super 
stitious practice which is very common among the 
Indians, and, indeed, is universal among those nations 
that I have become acquainted with. By certain 
methods which I shall presently describe, they put the mind of 
a boy in a state of perturbation, so as to excite dreams and 
visions ; by means of which they pretend that the boy receives 
instructions from certain spirits or unknown agents as to his 
conduct in life, that he is informed of his future destination and 
of the wonders he is to perform in his future career through the 

When a boy is to be thus initiated, he is put under an alter- 
nate course of physic and fasting, either taking no food whatever, 
or swallowing the most powerful and nauseous medicines, and 
occasionally he is made to drink decoctions of an intoxicating 
nature, until his mind becomes sufficiently bewildered, so that 
he sees or fancies that he sees visions, and has extraordinary 
dreams, for which, of course, he has been prepared beforehand. 
He will fancy himself flying through the air, walking under 
ground, stepping from one ridge or hill to the other across the 
valley beneath, fighting and conquering giants and monsters, 
and defeating whole hosts by his single arm. Then he has in 
terviews with the Mannitto or with spirits, who inform him of 
what he was before he was born and what he will be after his 
death. His fate in this life is laid entirely open before him, the 
spirit tells him what is to be his future employment, whether he 



will be a valiant warrior, a mighty hunter, a doctor, a conjurer, 
or a prophet. There are even those who learn or pretend to 
learn in this way the time and manner of their death. 

When a boy has been thus initiated, a name is given to him 
analogous to the visions that he has seen, and to the destiny that 
is supposed to be prepared for him. The boy, imagining all that 
happened to him while under perturbation, to have been real, 
sets out in the world with lofty notions of himself, and animated 
with courage for the most desperate undertakings. 

The belief in the truth of those visions is universal among the 
Indians, I have spoken with several of their old men, who had 
been highly distinguished for their valour, and asked them 
whether they ascribed their achievements to natural or super 
natural causes, and they uniformly answered, that as they knew 
beforehand what they could do, they did it of course. When I 
carried my questions farther, and asked them how they knew 
what they could do ? they never failed to refer to the dreams 
and visions which they had while under perturbation, in the 
manner I have above mentioned. 

I always found it vain to attempt to undeceive them on this sub 
ject. They never were at a loss for examples to shew that the 
dreams they had had were not the work of a heated imagination, 
but that they came to them through the agency of a mannitto. 
They could always cite numerous instances of valiant men, who, 
in former times, in consequence of such dreams, had boldly 
attacked their enemy with nothing but the Tamahican 1 in their 
hand, had not looked about to survey the number of their oppo 
nents, but had gone straight forward, striking all down before 
them ; some, they said, in the French wars, had entered houses 
of the English filled with people, who, before they had time to 
look about, were all killed and laid in a heap. Such was the 
strength, the power and the courage conveyed to them in their 
supernatural dreams, and which nothing could resist. 

If they stopped here in their relations, I might, perhaps, con- 
sider this practice of putting boys under perturbation, as a kind 
of military school or exercise, intended to create in them a more 

1 War-hatchet; from which we have made tomahawk. 


than ordinary courage, and make them undaunted warriors. It 
certainly has this effect on some, who fancying themselves under 
the immediate protection of the celestial powers, despise all dan 
gers, and really perform acts of astonishing bravery. But it 
must be observed, that all that are thus initiated are not designed 
for a military life, and that several learn by their dreams that 
they are to be physicians, sorcerers, or that their lives are to be 
devoted to some other civil employment. And it is astonishing 
what a number of superstitious notions are infused into the minds 
of the unsuspecting youth, by means of those dreams, which are 
useless, at least, for making good warriors or hunters. There are 
even some who by that means are taught to believe in the trans 
migration of souls. 

I once took great pains to dissuade from these notions a very 
sensible Indian, much esteemed by all who knew him, even 
among the whites. All that I could say or urge was not able to 
convince him that at the time of his initiation (as I call it) his 
mind was in a state of temporary derangement. He declared 
that he had a clear recollection of the dreams and visions that 
had occurred to him at the time, and was sure that they came 
from the agency of celestial spirits. He asserted very strange 
things, of his own supernatural knowledge, which he had ob 
tained not only at the time of his initiation, but at other times, 
even before he was born. He said he knew he had lived through 
two generations ; that he had died twice and was born a third 
time, to live out the then present race, after which he was to die 
and never more to come to this country again. He well remem 
bered what the women had predicted while he was yet in his 
mother s womb ; some had foretold that he would be a boy, and 
others a girl ; he had distinctly overheard their discourses, and 
could repeat correctly every thing that they had said. It would 
be too long to relate all the wild stories of the same kind which 
this otherwise intelligent Indian said of himself, with a tone and 
manner which indicated the most intimate conviction, and left 
no doubt in my mind that he did not mean to deceive others, 
but was himself deceived. 

I have known several other Indians who firmly believed that 
they knew, by means of these visions, what was to become of 



them when they should die, how their souls were to retire from 
their bodies and take their abodes into those of infants yet un 
born ; in short, there is nothing so wild and so extraordinary 
that they will not imagine and to which, when once it has taken 
hold of their imagination, they will not give full credit. In this 
they are not a little aided by certain superstitious notions which 
form a part of their traditionary belief, and of which I shall take 
notice in the next chapter. 



1HE Indians consider the earth as their universal 
mother. They believe that they were created within 
its bosom, where for a long time they had their 
abode, before they came to live on its surface. They 
say that the great, good, and all powerful Spirit, when he created 
them, undoubtedly meant at a proper time to put them in the 
enjoyment of all the good things which he had prepared for 
them upon the earth, but he wisely ordained that their first 
stage of existence should be within it, as the infant is formed 
and takes its first growth in the womb of its natural mother. 
This fabulous account of the creation of man needs only to be 
ascribed to the ancient Egyptians or to the Brahmins of India, 
to be admired and extolled for the curious analogy which it 
observes between the general and individual creation ; but as 
it comes from the American savage, I doubt whether it will 
even receive the humble praise of ingenuity, to which, however, 
it appears to me to be justly entitled. 

The Indian Mythologists are not agreed as to the form under 
which they existed while in the bowels of the earth. Some 
assert that they lived there in the human shape, while others, 
with greater consistency contend that their existence was in 
the form of certain terrestrial animals, such as the ground-hog, 
the rabbit, and the tortoise. This was their state of preparation, 




until they were permitted to come out and take their station 
on this island 1 as the Lords of the rest of the Creation. 

Among the Delawares, those of the Minsi, or Wolf tribe, say 
that in the beginning, they dwelt in the earth under a lake, and 
were fortunately extricated from this unpleasant abode by the 
discovery which one of their men made of a hole, through which 
he ascended to the surface ; on which, as he was walking, he 
found a deer, which he carried back with him into his subter 
raneous habitation ; that there the deer was killed, 2 and he and 
his companions found the meat so good, that they unanimously 
determined to leave their dark abode, and remove to a place 
where they could enjoy the light of heaven and have such excel 
lent game in abundance. 

The other two tribes, the Unamis or Tortoise, and the Unal- 
achtigos or Turkey, have much similar notions, but reject the 
story of the lake, which seems peculiar to the Minsi tribe. 

These notions must be very far extended among the Indians 
of North America generally, since we find that they prevail also 
among the Iroquois, a nation so opposed to the Delawares, as 
has been shewn in the former parts of this work, and whose lan 
guage is so different from theirs, that not two words, perhaps, 
similar or even analogous of signification may be found alike in 
both. On this subject I beg leave to present an extract from the 
manuscript notes of the late Reverend Christopher Pyrlaeus, 
whom I am always fond of quoting with respect, as he was a 
man of great truth, and besides well acquainted with the Six 
Nations and their idioms. 3 The account that he here gives of 
the traditions of that people concerning their original existence, 
was taken down by him in January 1743, from the mouth of a 
respectable Mohawk chief named Sganarady, who resided on 
the Mohawk river. 

1 The Indians call the American continent an island; believing it to be (as in fact, 
probably, it is) entirely surrounded with water. 

2 For "killed" read "eaten" 

V 3 Mr. Pyrlseus lived long among the Iroquois, and was well acquainted with their 
language. He was instructed in the Mohawk dialect by the celebrated interpreter 
Conrad Weiser. He has left behind him some manuscript grammatical works on 
that idiom, one of them is entitled : Affix a nominurn et verborum Lingua Alacqua- 
ic-te, and another, Adjectiva, nomina et pronomina Lingua Macquaiae. These MSS. 
are in the library of the Society of the United Brethren at Bethlehem. 



" Traditio. That they had dwelt in the earth where it was 
dark and where no sun did shine. That though they followed 
hunting, they ate mice, which they caught with their hands. 
That Ganawagahha (one of them) having accidentally found a 
hole to get out of the earth at, he went out, and that in walking 
about on the earth he found a deer, which he took back with 
him, and that both on account of the meat tasting so very good, 
and the favourable description he had given them of the country 
above and on the earth, their mother, concluded it best for them 
all to come out ; that accordingly they did so, and immediately 
set about planting corn, &c. That, however, the Nocharauorsiil, 
that is, the ground-hog, would not come out, but had remained 
in the ground as before." 

So far Mr. Pyrlseus. From these traditions of the Iroquois, 
and those of the Delawares and Mohicans, it seems to follow that 
they must have considered their numbers very small, when they 
dwelt in the earth ; perhaps, no more than one family of each 
tribe, and that the custom of giving to their tribes the names of 
particular animals, must have been very ancient. The ground 
hog^ say the Mohawks, would not come out. But who was this 
hog? Might it not formerly have been the name of one of their 
tribes, who was made the subject of this fable? 

However ridiculous these stories are, the belief of the Indians 
in them is not to be shaken. When I was a boy between twelve 
and fifteen years of age, I had often heard of white people con 
versant with the Indians, who at that time would continually 
come to this place, (Bethlehem) in great numbers, even by hun 
dreds, that the Indians did not eat rabbits, because they thought 
them infected with the venereal disease, and that whoever ate 
of their flesh, was sure to take that disorder. Being then myself 
fond of catching those animals in traps, I asked questions on this 
subject of several Mohican Indians, who spoke the German lan 
guage ; but though they said nothing about the disease that 
rabbits were said to be infected with, yet they advised me by 
no means to eat of their flesh. They gave me no reason what 
ever to induce me to abstain from this food ; but afterwards, in 


the year 1762, when I resided at Tuscorawas on the Muskingum, 
I was told by some of them, that there were some animals which 
Indians did not eat, and among them were the rabbit and the 
ground-hog ; for, said they, they did not know but that they 
might be related to them ! 

I found also that the Indians, for a similar reason, paid great 
respect to the rattle-snake, whom they called their grandfather, 
arid would on no account destroy him. One day, as I was 
walking with an elderly Indian on the banks of the Muskingum, 
I saw a large rattle-snake lying across the path, which I was 
going to kill. The Indian immediately forbade my doing so ; 
"for," said he, "the rattle-snake is grandfather to the Indians, and 
is placed here on purpose to guard us, and to give us notice of 
impending danger by his rattle, which is the same as if he were 
to tell us look about! Now," added he, "if we were to kill one 
of those, the others would soon know it, and the whole race 
would rise upon us and bite us." I observed to him that the 
white people were not afraid of this ; for they killed all the 
rattle-snakes that they met with. On this he enquired whether 
any white man had been bitten by these animals, and of course 
I answered in the affirmative. " No wonder, then ! " replied he, 
"you have to blame yourselves for that! you did as much as de 
claring war against them, and you will find them in your country, 
where they will not fail to make frequent incursions. They are 
a very dangerous enemy; take care you do not irritate them in 
our country ; they and their grandchildren are on good terms, 
and neither will hurt the other." 

These ancient notions have, however in a great measure died 
away with the last generation, and the Indians at present kill 
their grandfather the rattle-snake without ceremony, whenever 
they meet with him. 

That the Indians, from the earliest times, considered them 
selves in a manner connected with certain animals, is evident 
from various customs still preserved among them, and from the 
names of those animals which they have collectively, as well as 
individually, assumed. It might, indeed, be supposed that those 
animals names which they have given to their several tribes 
were mere badges of distinction, or " coats of arms " as Pyrlaeus 


calls them ; but if we pay attention to the reasons which they 
give for those denominations, the idea of a supposed family con 
nexion is easily discernible. The Tortoise, or as it is commonly 
called, the Turtle tribe, among the Lenape, claims a superiority 
and ascendency over the others, because their relation, the 
great Tortoise, a fabled monster, the Atlas of their mythology, 
bears according to their traditions this great island on his back, 
and also because he is amphibious, and can live both on land 
and in the water, which neither of the heads of the other tribes 
can do. The merits of the Turkey, which gives its name to the 
second tribe, are that he is stationary, and always remains with 
or about them. As to the Wolf, after whom the third tribe is 
named, he is a rambler by nature, running from one place to 
another in quest of his prey ; yet they consider him as their 
benefactor, as it was by his means that the Indians got out of 
the interior of the earth. It was he, they believe, who by the 
appointment of the Great Spirit, killed the deer whom the 
Monsey found who first discovered the way to the surface of 
the earth, and which allured them to come out of their damp and 
dark residence. For that reason, the wolf is to be honoured, 
and his name preserved for ever among them. Such are their 
traditions, as they were related to me by an old man of this 
tribe more than fifty years ago. 

These animals names, it is true, they all use as national 
badges, in order to distinguish their tribes from each other at 
home and abroad. In this point of view Mr. Pyrlaeus was right 
in considering them as " coats of arms." The Turtle warrior 
draws either with a coal or paint here and there on the trees 
along the war path, the whole animal carrying a gun with the 
muzzle projecting forward, and if he leaves a mark at the place 
where he has made a stroke on his enemy, it will be the picture 
of a tortoise. Those of the Turkey tribe paint only one foot of 
a turkey, and the Wolf tribe, sometimes a wolf at large with one 
leg and foot raised up to serve as a hand, in which the animal 
also carries a gun with the muzzle forward. They, however, do 
not generally use the word " wolf," when speaking of their tribe, 
but call themselves Pauk-sit 1 which means round-foot, that animal 
having a round foot like a dog. 

1 For "Pauksit" read " P duk-sit." 


The Indians, in their hours of leisure, paint their different 
marks or badges on the doors of their respective houses, that 
those who pass by may know to which tribe the inhabitants 
belong. Those marks also serve them for signatures to treaties 
and other documents. They are as proud of their origin from 
the tortoise, the turkey, and the wolf, as the nobles of Europe 
are of their descent from the feudal barons of ancient times, 
and when children spring from intermarriages between different 
tribes, their genealogy is carefully preserved by tradition in the 
family, that they may know to which tribe they belong. 
I I have often reflected on the curious connexion which ap 
pears to subsist in the mind of an Indian between man and the 
brute creation, and found much matter in it for curious observa 
tion. Although they consider themselves superior to all other 
animals and are very proud of that superiority; although they 
believe that the beasts of the forest, the birds of the air, and the 
fishes of the waters, were created by the Almighty Being for the 
use of man ; yet it seems as if they ascribe the difference be- 
tween themselves and the brute kind, and the dominion which 
they have over them, more to their superior bodily strength and 
dexterity than to their immortal souls. All beings endowed by 
the Creator with the power of volition and self-motion, they 
view in a manner as a great society of which they are the head, 
whom they are appointed, indeed, to govern, but between whom 
and themselves intimate ties of connexion and relationship may 
exist, or at least did exist in the beginning of time. They are, 
in fact, according to their opinions, only the first among equals, 
the legitimate hereditary sovereigns of the whole animated race, 
of which they are themselves a constituent part. Hence, in their 
languages, these inflections of their nouns which we engenders, 
are not, as with us, descriptive of the masculine and feminine 
species, but of the animate and inanimate kinds. Indeed, they 
go so far as to include trees, and plants within the first of these 
descriptions. All animated nature, in whatever degree, is in 
their eyes a great whole, from which they have not yet ven 
tured to separate themselves. They do not exclude other ani 
mals from their world of spirits, the place to which they expect 
to go after death. 


I find it difficult to express myself clearly on this abstruse 
subject, which, perhaps, the Indians themselves do not very well 
understand, as they have no metaphysicians among them to 
analyse their vague notions, and perhaps confuse them still 
more. But I can illustrate what I have said by some char 
acteristic anecdotes, with which I shall conclude this chapter. 

> I have already observed 1 that the Indian- includes all savage 
beasts within the number of his enemies. This is by no means 
a metaphorical or figurative expression, but is used in a literal 
sense, as will appear from what I am going to relate. 

A Delaware hunter once shot a huge bear and broke its 
back-bone. The animal fell and set up a most plaintive cry, 
something like that of the panther when he is hungry. The 
hunter instead of giving him another shot, stood up close to 
him, and addressed him in these words: " Hark ye ! bear; you 
are a coward, and no warrior as you pretend to be. Were you 
a warrior, you would shew it by your firmness and not cry and 
whimper like an old woman. You know, bear, that our tribes 
are at war with each other, and that yours was the aggressor. 2 
You have found the Indians too powerful for you, and you have 
gone sneaking about in the woods, stealing their hogs ; perhaps 
at this time you have hog s flesh in your belly. Had you con 
quered me, I would have borne it with courage and died like a 
brave warrior ; but you, bear, sit here and cry, and disgrace your 
tribe by your cowardly conduct." I was present at the delivery 
of this curious invective ; when the hunter had despatched the 
bear, I asked him how he thought that poor animal could 
understand what he said to it? " Oh ! " said he in answer, " the 
bear understood me very well ; did you not observe how 
ashamed he looked while I was upbraiding him ?" 

Another time I witnessed a similar scene between the falls of 
the Ohio and the river Wabash. A young white man, named 

1 See page 101. 

2 Probably alluding to a tradition which the Indians have of a very ferocious kind 
of bear, called the naked bear, which they say once existed, but was totally destroyed 
by their ancestors. The last was killed in the New York state, at a place they called 
Hoosink, which means the Basin, or more properly the Kettle. 


William Wells? who had been when a boy taken prisoner by a 
tribe of the Wabash Indians, by whom he was brought up, and 
had imbibed all their notions, had so wounded a large bear that 
he could not move from the spot, and the animal cried piteously 
like the one I have just mentioned. The young man went up to 
him, and with seemingly great earnestness, addressed him in 
the Wabash language, now and then giving him a slight stroke 
on the nose with his ram-rod. I asked him, when he had done, 
what he had been saying to this bear? " I have," said he, "up 
braided him for acting the part of a coward ; I told him that he 
knew the fortune of war, that one or the other of us must have 
fallen ; that it was his fate to be conquered, and he ought to die 
like a man, like a hero, and not like an old woman ; that if the 
case had been reversed, and I had fallen into the power of my 
enemy, I would not have disgraced rny nation as he did, but 
would have died with firmness and courage, as becomes a true 

I leave the reader to reflect upon these anecdotes, which, I 
think, convey more real information than any further attempts 
that I could make to explain the strange notions which gave 
them rise. 

1 The same whom Mr. de Volney speaks of in his excellent " View of the Soil and 
Climate of the United States." Supplement, No. VI., page 356, Philadelphia Edition, 



,NSANITY is not common among the Indians; yet I 
have known several who were afflicted with mental 
derangement. Men in this situation are always con 
sidered as objects of pity. Every one, young and 
old, feels compassion for their misfortune ; to laugh or scoff at 
them would be considered as a crime, much more so to insult or 
molest them. The nation or colour of the unfortunate object 
makes no difference ; the charity of the Indians extends to all, 
and no discrimination is made in such a lamentable case. 

About the commencement of the Indian war in 1763, a trading 
Jew, named Chapman, who was going up the Detroit river 
with a batteau-load of goods which he had brought from 
Albany, was taken by some Indians of the Chippeway nation, 
and destined to be put to death. A Frenchman, impelled by 
motives of friendship and humanity, found means to steal the 
prisoner, and kept him so concealed for some time, that although 
the most diligent search was made, the place of his confinement 
could not be discovered. At last, however, the unfortunate man 
was betrayed by some false friend, and again fell into the power 
of the Indians, who took him across the river to be burned and 
tortured. Tied to the stake and the fire burning by his side, his 
thirst, from the great heat, became intolerable, and he begged 
that some drink might be given to him. It is a custom with the 
Indians, previous to a prisoner being put to death, to give him 
what they call his last meal ; a bowl of pottage or broth was 
therefore brought to him for that purpose. Eager to quench his 
17 257 


thirst, he put the bowl immediately to his lips, and the liquor 
being very hot, he was dreadfully scalded. Being a man of a 
very quick temper, the moment he felt his mouth burned, he 
threw the bowl with its contents full in the face of the man who 
had handed it to him. " He is mad ! He is mad ! " resounded 
from all quarters. The bystanders considered his conduct as an 
act of insanity, and immediately untied the cords with which he 
was bound, and let him go where he pleased. 

This fact was well known to all the inhabitants of Detroit, 
from whom I first heard it, and it was afterwards confirmed to 
me by Mr. Chapman himself, who was established as a merchant 
at that place. 

1 SUICIDE is not considered by the Indians either as an act of 
heroism or of cowardice, nor is it with them a subject of praise 
or blame. They view this desperate act as the consequence of 
mental derangement, and the person who destroys himself is to 
them an object of pity. Such cases do not frequently occur. 
Between the years 1771 and 1780, four Indians of my acquaint- 
ance took the root of the may-apple, which is commonly used 
on such occasions, in order to poison themselves, in which they 
all succeeded, except one. Two of them were young men, who 
had been disappointed in love, the girls on whom they had fixed 
their choice, and to whom they were engaged, having changed 
their minds and married other lovers. They both put an end 
to their existence. The two others were married men. Their 
stories, as pictures of Indian manners, will not, perhaps, be 
thought uninteresting, j 

One of those unfortunate men was a person of an excellent 
character, respected and esteemed by all who knew him. He 
had a wife whom he was very fond of and two children, and they 
lived very happily together at the distance of about half a mile 
from the place where I resided. He often came to visit me, and 
as he was of a most amiable disposition, I was pleased with his 
visits, and always gave him a hearty welcome. When I thought 
he was too long about coming, I went myself to the delightful 
spot which he had judiciously selected for his dwelling. Here 
I always found the family cheerful, sociable and happy, until 
some time before the fatal catastrophe happened, when I ob- 


served that my friend s countenance bore the marks of deep 
melancholy, of which I afterwards learned the cause. His wife 
had received the visits of another man ; he foresaw that he 
would soon be obliged to separate from her, and he shuddered 
when he thought that he must also part from his two lovely 
children ; for it is the custom of the Indians, that when a divorce 
takes place between husband and wife, the children remain with 
their mother, until they are of a proper age to choose for them 
selves. One hope, however, still remained. The sugar-making 
season was at hand, and they were shortly to remove to their 
sugar-camp, where he flattered himself his wife would not be 
followed by the disturber of his peace, whose residence was 
about ten miles from thence. But this hope was of short dura 
tion. They had hardly been a fortnight in their new habitation, 
when, as he returned one day from a morning s hunt, he found 
the unwelcome visitor at his home, in close conversation with 
his faithless wife. This last stroke was more than he could bear ; 
without saying a single word, he took off a large cake of his 
sugar, and with it came to my house, which was at the distance 
of eight miles from his temporary residence. It was on a Sunday, 
at about ten o clock in the forenoon, that he entered my door, 
with sorrow strongly depicted on his manly countenance. As 
he came in he presented me with his cake of sugar, saying, " My 
friend ! you have many a time served me with a good pipe of 
tobacco, and I have not yet done anything to please you. Take 
this as a reward for your goodness, and as an acknowledgment 
from me as your friend." He said no more, but giving me with 
both his hands a warm farewell squeeze, he departed and re 
turned to the camp. At about two o clock in the afternoon, a 
runner from thence passing through the town to notify his death 
at the village two miles farther, informed us of the shocking 
event. He had immediately on his return, remained a short 
time in his house, indulging in the last caresses to his dear 
innocent children ; then retiring to some distance, had eaten 
the fatal root, and before relief could be administered by some 
persons who had observed him staggering from the other side 
of the river, he was on the point of expiring, and all succours 
were vain. 


*The last whom I have to mention was also a married man, 
but had no children. He had lived happy with his wife, until 
one day that she fell into a passion and made use to him of such 
abusive language as he could not endure. Too highminded to 
quarrel with a woman, he resolved to punish her by putting an 
end to his existence. Fortunately he was seen in the first stage 
of his fits, and was brought into a house, where a strong emetic 
diluted in lukewarm water, the composition of which I have 
already described, 1 was forcibly poured down his throat. He 
recovered after some time, but never was again the strong 
healthy man he had been before ; his wife however took warn 
ing from this desperate act, and behaved better ever after. 

1 See ch. 29, p. 225. 



N treating of this subject, I cannot resist the impres 
sion of a melancholy feeling, arising from the com 
parison which forces itself upon my mind of what the 
Indians were before the Europeans came into this coun 
try, and what they have become since, by a participation in our 
vices. By their intercourse with us, they have lost much of that 
original character by which they were once distinguished, and 
which it is the object of this work to delineate, and the change 
which has taken place is by no means for the better. I am not 
one of those wild enthusiasts who would endeavour to persuade 
mankind that savage life is preferable to a state of civilisation ; 
but I leave it to every impartial person to decide, whether the 
condition of the healthy sober Indian, pursuing his game through 
forests and plains, is not far superior to that of the gangrened 
drunken white man, rioting in debauchery and vice? 

1 have already before taken notice 1 of the assertion which our 
aborigines do not hesitate to make, that before the Europeans 
landed in those parts of the American continent, they were unac 
quainted with that shameful disorder which attacks generation 
in its sources. I am well aware that this complaint is generally 
believed to have been communicated by the new world to 
the old. I do not know upon what proofs this opinion rests, 
but I am disposed to give credit to the uniform assertion of our 

1 See ch. 28, p. 221. 



northern Indians, that this contagion was first introduced among 
them by emigrants from Europe. However it may be, it is a v 
lamentable fact that they are now very generally infected with 
it, and that their population cannot long resist its destructive 
operation upon their once strong and healthy constitutions, par 
ticularly as it is associated with the abuse of strong liquors, now 
so prevalent among them. 

Of the manner in which they have acquired this latter vice, I 
presume there can be no doubt. They charge us in the most 
positive manner with being the first who made them acquainted 
with ardent spirits, and what is worse, with having exerted all 
the means in our power to induce them to drink to excess. It 
is very certain that the processes of distillation and fermentation 
are entirely unknown to the Indians, and that they have among 
them no intoxicating liquors but such as they receive from us. 
The Mexicans have their Pulque, and other indigenous beverages 
of an inebriating nature, but the North American Indians, before 
their intercourse with us commenced, had absolutely nothing of 
the kind. The smoke of the American weed, tobacco, was the 
only means that they at that time had in use to produce a tem 
porary exhilaration of their spirits. 

*y I have related in a former chapter, 1 the curious account given 
by the Delawares and Mohicans of the scene which took place 
when they were first made to taste spirituous liquors by the 
Dutch who landed on New York Island. I have no doubt that 
this tradition is substantially founded on fact. Indeed, it is 
strongly corroborated by the name which, in consequence of 
this adventure, those people gave at the time to that island, and 
which it has retained to this day. They called it Manahachta- 
nienk, which in the Delaware language, means " the island where 
we all became intoxicated^ We have corrupted this name into 
Manhattan, but not so as to destroy its meaning, or conceal its 
origin. The last syllable which we have left out is only a ter 
mination, implying locality, and in this word signifies as much 
as where we. There are few Indian traditions so well supported 
as this. 

1 See ch. 2. 


How far from that time the dreadful vice of intoxication has 
increased among those poor Indians, is well known to many 
Christian people among us. We may safely calculate on thou 
sands who have perished by the baneful effect of spirituous 
liquors. The dreadful war which took place in 1774 between 
the Shawanese, some of the Mingoes, and the people of Virginia, 
in which so many lives were lost, was brought on by the con 
sequences of drunkenness. It produced murders, which were 
followed by private revenge, and ended in a most cruel and des 
tructive war. 

The general prevalence of this vice among the Indians is in a 
great degree owing to unprincipled white traders, who persuade 
them to become intoxicated that they may cheat them the more 
easily, and obtain their lands or 1 peltries for a mere trifle. Within 
the last fifty years, some instances have even come to my knowl 
edge of white men having enticed Indians to drink, and when 
drunk, murdered them. The effects which intoxication produces 
upon the Indians are dreadful. It has been the cause of an in 
finite number of murders among them, besides biting off noses 
and otherwise disfiguring each other, which are the least conse 
quences of the quarrels which inebriation produces between 
them. I cannot say how many have died of colds and other dis 
orders, which they have caught by lying upon the cold ground, 
and remaining exposed to the elements when drunk; others 
have lingered out their lives, in excruciating rheumatic pains and 
in wasting consumptions, until death came to relieve them from 
their sufferings. 

Reflecting Indians have keenly remarked, " that it was strange 
that a people who professed themselves believers in a religion 
revealed to them by the great Spirit himself; who say that they 
have in their houses the WORD of God, and his laws and com 
mandments textually written, could think of making a bcson? 
calculated to bewitch people and make them destroy one 
another." I once asked an Indian at Pittsburgh, whom I had 
not before seen, who he was ? He answered in broken English : 

1 Dele "lands or" 

2 This word means liquor, and is also used in the sense of a medicinal draught, or 
other compound potion. 


" My name is Black-fish ; when at home with my nation, I am a 
clever fellow, and when here, a hog He meant that by means 
of the liquor which the white people gave him, he was sunk 
down to the level of that beast. 

An Indian who had been born and brought up at Minisink, 
near the Delaware Water Gap, and to whom the German inhab 
itants of that neighbourhood had given the name of Cornelius 
Rosenbaum, told me near fifty years ago, that he had once, when 
under the influence of strong liquor, killed the best Indian friend 
he had, fancying him to be his worst avowed enemy. He said 
that the deception was complete, and that while intoxicated, 
the face of his friend presented to his eyes all the features of the 
man with whom he was in a state of hostility. It is impossible 
to express the horror with which he was struck when he awoke 
from that delusion ; he was so shocked, that he from that mo 
ment resolved never more to taste of the maddening poison, of 
which he was convinced that the devil was the inventor ; for it 
could only be the evil spirit who made him see his enemy when 
his friend was before him, and produced so strong a delusion on 
his bewildered senses, that he actually killed him. From that 
time until his death, which happened thirty years afterwards, he 
never drank a drop of ardent spirits, which he always called 
" the Devil s blood," and was firmly persuaded that the Devil, or 
some of his inferior spirits had a hand in preparing it. 

Once in my travels, I fell in with an Indian and his son ; the 
former, though not addicted to drinking, had this time drank 
some liquor with one of his acquaintances, of which he now felt 
the effects. As he was walking before me, along the path, he at 
once flew back and aside, calling out, "O! what a monstrous 
snake ! " On my asking him where the snake lay, he pointed to 
something and said, " Why, there, across the path !" "A snake ! " 
said I, " it is nothing but a black-burnt sapling, which has fallen 
on the ground." He however would not be persuaded ; he in 
sisted that it was a snake, and could be nothing else ; therefore, 
to avoid it, he went round the path, and entered it again at some 
distance further. After we had travelled together for about two 
hours, during which time he spoke but little, we encamped for 
the night. Awaking about midnight, I saw him sitting up 


smoking his pipe, and appearing to be in deep thought. I asked 
him why he did not lay down and sleep? To which he replied, 
" O ! my friend ! many things have crowded on my mind ; I am 
quite lost in thought ! " 

HECKEW. " And what are you thinking about ? " 

INDIAN. u Did you say it was not a snake of which I was 
afraid, and which lay across the path ? " 

HECKEW. " I did say so ; and, indeed, it was nothing else but 
a sapling burnt black by the firing of the woods." 

INDIAN. " Are you sure it was that? " 

HECKEW. "Yes; and I called to you at the time to look, how 
I was standing on it; and if you have yet a doubt, ask your son, 
and the two Indians with me, and they will tell you the same." 

INDIAN. " O strange ! and I took it for an uncommonly large 
snake, moving as if it intended to bite me ! I cannot get over 
my surprise, that the liquor I drank, and, indeed, that was not 
much, should have so deceived me ! but I think I have now dis 
covered how it happens that Indians so often kill one another 
when drunk, almost without knowing what they are doing ; and 
when afterwards they are told of what they have done, they 
ascribe it to the liquor which was in them at the time, and say 
the liquor did it. I thought that as I saw this time a living 
snake in a dead piece of wood, so I might, at another time, take 
a human being, perhaps one of my own family, for a bear or 
some other ferocious beast and kill him. Can you, my friend, 
tell me what is in the beson that confuses one so, and transforms 
things in that manner? Is it an invisible spirit? It must be 
something alive ; or have the white people sorcerers among 
them, who put something in the liquor to deceive those who 
drink it ? Do the white people drink of the same liquor that 
they give to the Indians ? Do they also, when drunk, kill 
people, and bite noses off, as the Indians do ? Who taught 
the white people to make so pernicious a beson ? " 

I answered all these questions, and several others that he put 
to me, in the best manner that I could, to which he replied, and 
our conversation continued as follows : 

INDIAN. " Well, if, as you say, the bad spirit cannot be the 
inventor of this liquor ; if, in some cases it is moderately used 
among you as a medicine, and if your doctors can prepare from 


it, or with the help of a little of it, some salutary besons, still, I 
must believe that when it operates as you have seen, the bad 
spirit must have some hand in it, either by putting some bad 
thing into it, unknown to those who prepare it, or you have . 
conjurers who understand how to bewitch it. Perhaps they 
only do so to that which is for the Indians ; for the devil is not 
the Indians friend, because they will not worship him, as they 
do the good spirit, and therefore I believe he puts something 
into the beson, for the purpose of destroying them." 

HECKEW. " What the devil may do with the liquor, I cannot 
tell ; but I believe that he has a hand in everything that is bad. 
When the Indians kill one another, bite off each other s noses, 
or commit such wicked acts, he is undoubtedly well satisfied ; 
for, as God himself has said, he is a destroyer and a murderer." 

INDIAN. " Well, now, we think alike, and henceforth he shall 
never again deceive me, or entice me to drink his bcson." 
\ It is a common saying with those white traders who find it 
their interest to make the Indians drunk, in order to obtain their 
peltry at a cheaper rate, that they will have strong liquors, and 
will not enter upon a bargain unless they are sure of getting it. 
I acknowledge that I have seen some such cases ; but I could 
also state many from my own knowledge, where the Indians not 
only refused liquor, but resisted during several days all the at 
tempts that were made to induce them even to taste it, being 
well aware, as well as those who offered it to them, that if they 
once should put it to their lips, such was their weakness on that 
score, that intoxication would inevitably follow. 
, \ 1 can, perhaps, offer a plausible reason why the Indians are so 
fond of spirituous drinks. The cause is, I believe, to be found in 
their living almost entirely upon fresh meats and green vegeta 
bles, such as corn, pumpkins, squashes, potatoes, cucumbers, 
melons, beans, &c., which causes a longing in their stomachs for 
some seasoning, particularly (as is often the case) when they 
have been a long time without salt. They are, on those occa 
sions, equally eager for any acid substances ; vinegar, if they can 
get it, they will drink in considerable quantities, and think noth 
ing of going thirty or forty miles in search of cranberries whether 
in season or not. They also gather crab-apples, wild-grapes, / 
and other acid, and even bitter- tasted fruits, as substitutes for 


salt, and in the spring they will peel such trees as have a sour 
ish sap, which they lick with great avidity. When for a long 
time they have been without salt, and are fortunate enough to 
get some, they will swallow at a time a table-spoonful of that 
mineral substance, for which they say that they and their horses 
are equally hungry. 

The Indians are very sensible of the state of degradation to 
which they have been brought by the abuse of strong liquors, 
and whenever they speak of it, never fail to reproach the whites, 
for having enticed them into that vicious habit. I could easily 
prove how guilty the whites are in this respect, if I were to 
relate a number of anecdotes, which I rather wish to consign to 
oblivion. The following will be sufficient to confute those dis 
ingenuous traders, who would endeavour to shift the blame from 
themselves, in order to fix it upon the poor deluded Indians. 

In the year 1769, an Indian from Susquehannah having come 
to Bethlehem with his sons to dispose of his peltry, was accosted 
by a trader from a neighbouring town, who addressed him thus : 
" Well ! Thomas, I really believe you have turned Moravian." 
" Moravian ! " answered the Indian, " what makes you think so ?" 
" Because," replied the other, " you used to come to us to sell 
your skins and peltry, and now you trade them away to the 
Moravians." "So!" rejoined the Indian, "now I understand 
you well, and I know what you mean to say. Now hear me. 
See ! my friend ! when I come to this place with my skins and 
peltry to trade, the people are kind, they give me plenty of good 
victuals to eat, and pay me in money or whatever I want, and no 
one says a word to me about drinking rum neither do I ask 
for it ! When I come to your place with my peltry, all call to 
me: Come, Thomas! here s rum, drink heartily, drink! it will 
not hurt you. All this is done for the purpose of cheating me. 
When you have obtained from me all you want, you call me a 
drunken dog, and kick me out of the room. See ! this is the 
manner in which you cheat the Indians when they come to trade 
with you. So now you know when you see me coming to your 
town again, you may say to one another : Ah ! there is Thomas 
coming again ! he is no longer a Moravian, for he is coming to 
us to be made drunk to be cheated to be kicked out of the 
house, and be called a drunken dog ! 



BELIEVE that no sufficiently detailed account has 
yet been given of the manner in which the North 
American Indians conduct the funerals of their dead. 
Captain Carver tells us that the Naudowessies, 
among whom he was, kept those ceremonies a secret, and would 
not give him an opportunity of witnessing them. Loskiel, 
although he drew his information from the journals of our 
Missionaries, has treated this subject rather superficially. I 
therefore run little risk of repetition in describing what I have 
myself seen, and I hope that the particulars which I am going 
to relate will not be thought uninteresting. 

It is well known that the Indians pay great respect to the 
memory of the dead, and commit their remains to the ground 
with becoming ceremonies. Those ceremonies, however, are 
not the same in all cases, but vary according to circumstances, 
and the condition of the deceased ; for rank and wealth receive 
distinctions even after death, as well among savages as among 
civilised nations. This, perhaps, may be easily accounted for. 
When a great chief dies, his death is considered as a national 
loss ; of course all must join in a public demonstration of their 
sorrow. The rich man, on the other hand, had many friends 
during his life, who cannot decently abandon him the moment 
the breath is out of his body ; besides, his fortune supplies the 
means of a rich entertainment at the funeral, of which many, as 
may well be supposed, are anxious to partake. Thus social dis 
tinctions are found even in the state of nature, where perfect 



equality, if it exists any where, might with the greatest proba 
bility be supposed to be found. Though the earth and its fruits 
are common to all the Indians, yet every man is permitted to 
enjoy the earnings of his industry, and that produces riches ; and 
/ though there is no hereditary or even elective rank in their social 
organization, yet as power follows courage and talents, those who 
are generally acknowledged to be possessed of those qualities, 
assume their station above the rest, and the distinction of rank 
is thus established. Politicians and philosophers may reason on 
these facts as they please ; the descriptions that I give are from 
nature, and I leave it to abler men than myself to draw the 
proper inferences from them. 

On the death of a principal chief, the village resounds from one 
end to the other with the loud lamentations of the women, among 
whom those who sit by the corpse distinguish themselves by the 
shrillness of their cries and the frantic expression of their sorrow. 
This scene of mourning over the dead body continues by day 
and by night until it is interred, the mourners being relieved 
from time to time by other women. 

These honours of " mourning over the corpse " are paid to all ; 
the poor and humble, as well as the rich, great, and powerful ; 
the difference consists only in the number of mourners, the un 
distinguished Indian having few besides his immediate relations 
and friends, and sometimes only those. Women (notwithstand- ./ 
ing alt that has been said of their supposed inferior station and 
of their being reduced to the rank of slaves) are not treated after 
their death with less respect than the men, and the greatest 
honours are paid to the remains of the wives of renowned 
warriors or veteran chiefs, particularly if they were descended 
themselves of a high family, which, however strange it may 
appear, is not an indifferent thing among the Indians, who love 
to honour the merit of their great men in their relatives. I was 
present in the year 1762, at the funeral of a woman of the high 
est rank and respectability, the wife of the valiant Delaware 
chief Sliingask ; v as all the honours were paid to her at her in- 

1 [Shingask, which signifies boggy or marshy ground overgrown "with grass, a 
brother of Tamaqua, or King Beaver, ranked first among Indian warriors in the 
times of the so-called French and Indian war. The frontiers of Pennsylvania suffer- 


terment that are usual on such occasions, I trust a particular 
description of the ceremony will not be unacceptable. 

At the moment that she died, her death was announced 
through the village by women specially appointed for that pur 
pose, who went through the streets crying, " She is no more ! 
she is no more ! " The place on a sudden exhibited a scene of 
universal mourning ; cries and lamentations were heard from 
all quarters ; it was truly the expression of the general feeling 
for a general loss. 

The day passed in this manner amidst sorrow and desolation. 
The next morning, between nine and ten o clock, two counsellors 
came to announce to Mr. Thomas Calhoon, the Indian trader, 
and myself, that we were desired to attend and assist at the 
funeral which was soon to take place. We, in consequence, 
proceeded to the house of the deceased, where we found her 
corpse lying in a coffin, (which had been made by Mr. Calhoon s 
carpenter) dressed and painted in the most superb Indian style. 
Her garments, all new, were set off with rows of silver broaches, 1 
one row joining the other. Over the sleeves of her new ruffled 
shirt were broad silver arm-spangles from her shoulder down 
to her wrist, on which were bands, forming a kind of mittens, 
worked together of wampum, in the same manner as the belts 
which they use when they deliver speeches. Her long plaited 
hair was confined by broad bands of silver, one band joining the 
other, yet not of the same size, but tapering from the head down 
ing severely from the forays of this Delaware and his braves, Governor Denny, in 
1756, set a price of 200 upon his head or scalp. Mr. Heckewelder, in a " Collec 
tion of the Names of Chieftains and Eminent Men of the Delaware Nation" states 
that Shingask, although an implacable foe in battle, was never known to treat a 
prisoner with cruelty. "One day," he goes on to say, "in the summer of 1762, 
while passing with him near by where two prisoners of his boys of about twelve 
years of age were amusing themselves with his own boys, as the chief observed 
that my attention was arrested by them, he asked me at what I was looking. Telling 
him in reply that I was looking at his prisoners, he said, When I first took them, 
they were such ; but now they and my children eat their food from the same bowl or 
dish ; which was equivalent to saying that they were in all respects on an equal foot 
ing with his own children, or alike dear to him."] 

1 A kind of round buckle with a tongue, which the Indians fasten to their shirts. 
The traders call them broaches. They are placed in rows, at the distance of about 
the breadth of a finger one from the other. 


wards and running at the lower end to a point. On the neck 
were hanging five broad belts of wampum tied together at the 
ends, each of a size smaller than the other, the largest of which 
reached below her breast, the next largest reaching to a few inches 
of it, and so on, the uppermost one being the smallest. Her 
scarlet leggings were decorated with different coloured ribands 
sewed on, the outer edges being finished off with small beads also 
of various colours. Her mocksens were ornamented with the 
most striking figures, wrought on the leather with coloured 
porcupine quills, on the borders of which, round the ankles, 
were fastened a number of small round silver bells, of about the 
size of a musket ball. All these things, together with the ver 
milion paint, judiciously laid on, so as to set her off in the high 
est style, decorated her person in such a manner, that perhaps 
nothing of the kind could exceed it. 

The spectators having retired, a number of articles were 
brought out of the house and placed in the coffin, wherever 
there was room to put them in, among which were a new shirt, 
a dressed deer skin for shoes, a pair of scissors, needles, thread, 
a knife, pewter basin and spoon, pint-cup, and other similar 
things, with a number of trinkets and other small articles which 
she was fond of while living. The lid was then fastened on the 
coffin with three straps, and three handsome round poles, five 
or six feet long, were laid across it, near each other, and one "in 
the middle, which were also fastened with straps cut up from a 
tanned elk hide; and a small bag of vermilion paint, with some 
flannel to lay it on, was then thrust into the coffin through the 
hole cut out at the head of it. This hole, the Indians say, is for 
the spirit of the deceased to go in and out at pleasure, until it 
has found the place of its future residence. 

Everything being in order, the bearers of the corpse were 
desired to take their places. Mr. Calhoon and myself were 
placed at the foremost pole, two women at the middle, and two 
men at the pole in the rear. Several women from a house about 
thirty yards off, now started off, carrying large kettles, dishes, 
spoons, and dried elk meat in baskets, for the burial place, and 
the signal being given for us to move with the body, the women 
who acted as chief mourners made the air resound with their 


shrill cries. The order of the procession was as follows ; first 
a leader or guide, from the spot where we were to the place of 
interment. Next followed the corpse, and close to it Shingask, 
the husband of the deceased. He was followed by the principal 
war-chiefs and counsellors of the nation, after whom came men 
of all ranks and descriptions. Then followed the women and 
children, and lastly two stout men carrying loads of European 
manufactured goods upon their backs. The chief mourners on 
the women s side, not having joined the ranks, took their own 
course to the right, at the distance of about fifteen or twenty 
yards from us, but always opposite to the corpse. As the corpse 
had to be carried by the strength of our arms to the distance of 
about two hundred yards, and hung low between the bearers, 
we had to rest several times by the way, and whenever we 
stopped, everybody halted until we moved on again. 

Being arrived at the grave, we were told to halt, then the lid 
of the coffin was again taken off, and the body exposed to view. 
Now the whole train formed themselves into a kind of semi-lunar 
circle on the south side of the grave, and seated themselves on 
the ground. Within this circle, at the distance of about fifteen 
yards from the grave, a common seat was made for Mr. Calhoon 
and myself to sit on, while the disconsolate Shingask retired by 
himself to a spot at some distance, where he was seen weeping, 
with his head bowed to the ground. The female mourners seated 
themselves promiscuously near to each other, among some low 
bushes that were at the distance of from twelve to fifteen yards 
east of the grave. 

In this situation we remained for the space of more than two 
hours ; not a sound was heard from any quarter, though the 
numbers that attended were very great; nor did any person 
move from his seat to view the body, which had been lightly 
covered over with a clean white sheet. All appeared to be in 
profound reflection and solemn mourning. Sighs and sobs were 
now and then heard from the female mourners, so uttered as 
not to disturb the assembly ; it seemed rather as if intended to 
keep the feeling of sorrow alive in a manner becoming the occa 
sion. Such was the impression made on us by this long silence. 

At length, at about one o clock in the afternoon, six men 


stepped forward to put the lid upon the coffin, and let down 
the body into the grave, when suddenly three of the women 
mourners rushed from their seats, and forcing themselves be 
tween these men and the corpse, loudly called out to the 
deceased to " arise and go with them and not to forsake them." 
They even took hold of her arms and legs ; at first it seemed 
as if they were caressing her, afterwards they appeared to pull 
with more violence, as if they intended .to run away with the 
body, crying out all the while, " Arise, arise ! Come with us ! 
Don t leave us ! Don t abandon us ! " At last they retired, 
plucking at their garments, pulling their hair, and uttering loud 
cries and lamentations, with all the appearance of frantic despair. 
After they were seated on the ground, they continued in the 
same manner crying and sobbing and pulling at the grass and 
shrubs, as if their minds were totally bewildered and they did 
not know what they were doing. 

As soon as these women had gone through their part of the 
ceremony, which took up about fifteen minutes, the six men 
whom they had interrupted and who had remained at. the dis 
tance of about five feet from the corpse, again stepped forward 
and did their duty. They let down the coffin into the earth, 
and laid two thin poles of about four inches diameter, from 
which the bark had been taken off, lengthways and close 
together over the grave, after which they retired. Then the 
husband of the deceased advanced with a very slow pace, and 
when he came to the grave, walked over it on these poles, and 
proceeded forward in the same manner into an extensive adjoin 
ing prairie, which commenced at this spot. 

When the widowed chief had advanced so far that he could 
not hear what was doing at the grave, a painted post, on which 
were drawn various figures, emblematic of the 1 deceased s situ 
ation in life and of her having been the wife of a valiant warrior, 
was brought by two men and delivered to a third, a man of note, 
who placed it in such a manner that it rested on the coffin at the 
head of the grave, and took great care that a certain part of the 
drawings should be exposed to the East, or rising of the sun ; 
then, while he held the post erect and properly situated, some 
women filled up the grave with hoes, and having placed dry 


leaves and pieces of bark over it, so that none of the fresh ground 
was visible, they retired, and some men, with timbers fitted 
beforehand for the purpose, enclosed the grave about breast- 
high, so as to secure it from the approach of wild beasts. 

The whole work being finished, which took up about an 
hour s time, Mr. Calhoon and myself expected that we might 
be permitted to go home, as we wished to do, particularly as 
we saw a thundergust from the west fast approaching ; but the 
Indians, suspecting our design, soon came forward with poles 
and blankets, and in a few minutes erected a shelter for us. 

The storm, though of short duration, was tremendous ; the 
water produced by the rain, flowing in streams ; yet all had 
found means to secure themselves during its continuance, and 
being on prairie ground, we were out of all danger of trees being 
torn up or blown down upon us. Our encampment now ap 
peared like a village, or rather like a military camp, such was the 
number of places of shelter that had been erected. 

Fortunately, the husband of the deceased had reached the 
camp in good time, and now the gust being over, every one was 
served with victuals that had been cooked at some distance from 
the spot. After the repast was over, the articles of merchandise 
which had been brought by the two men in the rear, having been 
made up in parcels, were distributed among all present. No one, 
from the oldest to the youngest, was excepted, and every one 
partook of the liberal donation. This difference only was made, 
that those who had rendered the greatest services received the 
most valuable presents, and we were much pleased to see the 
female mourners well rewarded, as they had, indeed, a very hard 
task to perform. Articles of little value, such as gartering, tape, 
needles, beads, and the like, were given to the smaller girls ; the 
older ones received a pair of scissors, needles and thread, and a 
yard or two of riband. The boys had a knife, jews-harp, awl- 
blades, or something of similar value. Some of the grown per 
sons received a new suit of clothes, consisting of a blanket, shirt, 
breech-cloth and leggings, of the value in the whole of about 
eight dollars; and the women, (I mean those who had rendered 
essential services) a blanket, ruffled shirts, stroud and leggings, 
the whole worth from ten to twelve dollars. Mr. Calhoon and 


myself were each presented with a silk cravat and a pair of leg 
gings. The goods distributed on this occasion, were estimated 
by Mr. Calhoon at two hundred dollars ; the greatest part of 
them had, the same morning, been taken out of his store. 

After we had thus remained, in a manner, under confinement, 
for more than six hours, the procession ended, and Mr. Calhoon 
and myself retired with the rest to our homes. At dusk a kettle 
of victuals was carried to the grave and placed upon it, and the 
same was done every evening for the space of three weeks, at 
the end of which it was supposed that the traveller had found 
her place of residence. During that time the lamentations of 
the women mourners were heard on the evenings of each day, 
though not so loud nor so violent as before. 

I have thus described, from minutes which I took at the time, 
the ceremonies which take place among the Delaware Indians on 
the death of a person of high rank and consideration among 
them. The funerals of persons of an inferior station are con 
ducted with less pomp and with less expense. When the heirs 
of the deceased cannot afford to hire female mourners, the duty 
is performed by their own immediate relations and friends. But 
" mourning over the corpse" is a ceremony that cannot be dis 
pensed with. 

It is always customary, when an Indian dies, of whatever rank 
or condition he may be, to put a number of the articles which 
belonged to the deceased in the coffin or grave, that he may have 
them when wanted. I have seen a bottle of rum or whiskey 
placed at the coffin head, and the reason given for it was, that 
the deceased was fond of liquor while living, and he would be 
glad of a dram when he should feel fatigued on his journey to 
the world of spirits. 

When an Indian dies at a distance from his home, great care 
is taken that the grave be well fortified with posts and logs laid 
upon it, that the wolves may be prevented from getting at the 
corpse; when time and circumstances do not permit this, as, for 
instance, when the Indians are travelling, the body is enclosed 
in the bark of trees and thus laid in the grave. When a death 
takes place at their hunting camps, they make a kind of coffin 
as well as they can, or put a cover over the body, so that the 


earth may not sink on it, and then enclose the grave with a fence 
of poles. 

Warriors that are slain in battle, are, if possible, drawn aside 
and buried, so that the enemy may not get their scalps, and also 
that he may not know the number of the slain. In such cases 
they will turn an old log out of its bed, and dig a grave so deep, 
that the log, when replaced, may not press too hard upon the 
body. If any of the fresh earth be seen, they cover it with rot 
ten wood, brush or leaves, that its place may not be found. If 
they have not sufficient time for this, or the number of their 
dead is too great, they throw the bodies on the top of each other 
between large logs, and place any kind of rotten wood or other 
rubbish upon them. They never, when they can help it, leave 
their dead to be devoured by wild beasts. 

V~When the Indians have to speak of a deceased person, they 
never mention him or her by name, lest they should renew the 
grief of the family or friends. They say, " He who was our coun 
sellor or chief," " She who was the wife of our friend ;" or they 
will allude to some particular circumstance, as that of the de 
ceased having been with them at a particular time or place, or 
having done some particular act or spoken particular words 
which they all remember, so that every body knows who is 
meant. I have often observed with emotion this remarkable 
delicacy, which certainly does honour to their hearts, and shews 
that they are naturally accessible to the tenderest feelings of 



IHOSE who believe that no faith is to be placed in the y 
friendship of an Indian are egregiously mistaken, and 
know very little of the true character of those men 
of nature. They are, it is true, revengeful to their / 
enemies, to those who wilfully do them an injury, who insult, 
abuse, or treat them with contempt. It may be said, indeed,. J 
that the passion of revenge is so strong in them that it knows no 
bounds. This does not, however, proceed from a bad or malicious 
disposition, but from the violence of natural feelings unchecked 
by social institutions, and unsubdued by the force of revealed^ 
religion. The tender and generous passions operate no less 
powerfully on them than those of an opposite character, and they 
are as warm and sincere in their friendship, as vindictive in their 
enmities. Nay, I will venture to assert that there are those 
among them who on an emergency would lay down their lives 
for a friend : I could fill many pages with examples of Indian 
friendship and fidelity, not only to each other, but to men of 
other nations and of a different colour than themselves. How 
often, when wars were impending between them and the whites, 
have they not forewarned those among our frontier settlers 
whom they thought well disposed towards them, that danger 
ous times were at hand, and advised them to provide for their 
own safety, regardless of the jealousy which such conduct might 
excite among their own people ? How often did they not even 
guard and escort them through the most dangerous places until 
they had reached a secure spot ? How often did they not find 



means to keep an enemy from striking a stroke, as they call it, 
that is to say from proceeding to the sudden indiscriminate mur 
der of the frontier whites, until their friends or those whom they 
considered as such were out of all danger ? 

These facts are all familiar to every one who has lived among 
Indians or in their neighbourhood, and I believe it will be diffi 
cult to find a single case in which they betrayed a real friend or 
abandoned him in the hour of danger, when it was in their power 
to extricate or relieve him. The word " Friend " to the ear of 
an Indian does not convey the same vague and almost indefinite 
meaning that it does with us ; it is not a mere complimentary or 
social expression, but implies a resolute determination to stand 
by the person so distinguished on all occasions, and a threat to 
those who might attempt to molest him ; the mere looking at 
two persons who are known or declared friends, is sufficient to 
deter any one from offering insult to either. When an Indian 
believes that he has reason to suspect a man of evil designs 
against his friend, he has only to say emphatically : " This is my 
friend, and if any one tries to hurt him, I will do to him what is 
in my mind." It is as much as to say that he will stand in his 
defence at the hazard of his own life. This language is well 
understood by the Indians, who know that they would have to 
combat with a spirited warrior, were they to attempt any thing 
against his friend. By this means much bloodshed is prevented; 
for it is sufficiently known that an Indian never proffers his 
friendship in vain. Many white men, and myself among others, 
have experienced the benefit of their powerful as well as gener 
ous protection. 

When in the spring of the year 1774, a war broke out between 
the Virginians and the Shawanese and Mingoes, on account of 
murders committed by the former on the latter people, and the 
exasperated friends of those who had suffered had determined to 
kill every white man in their country, the Shawano chief Silver- 
heels} taking another Indian with him, undertook out of friend 
ship to escort several white traders from thence to Albany, 2 a 

1 The same whom I have spoken of above, page 184, No. 4. 

2 For "Albany" read "Pittsburgh 


distance of near two hundred miles ; well knowing at the time 
that he was running the risk of his own life, from exasperated 
Indians and vagabond whites, if he should meet with such on the 
road, as he did in fact on his return. I have already said 
how he was rewarded for this noble act of friendship and self- 

In the year 1779, the noted Girty with his murdering party of 
Mingoes, nine in number, fell in with the Missionary Zeisberger, 
on the path leading from Goschacking to Gnadenhiitten ; their 
design was to take that worthy man prisoner ; and if they could 
not seize him alive, to murder him and take his scalp to Detroit. 
They were on the point of laying hold of him, when two young 
spirited Delawares providentially entered the path at that critical 
moment and in an instant presented themselves to defend the 
good Missionary at the risk of their lives. Their determined 
conduct had the desired success, and his life was saved. His 
deliverers afterwards declared that they had no other motive for 
thus exposing themselves for his sake than that he was a friend 
to their nation, and was considered by them as a good man. 

But why should I speak of others when I have myself so 
often experienced the benefits of Indian protection and friend 
ship. Let me be permitted to corroborate my assertions on this 
subject by my own personal testimony. 

In the year 1777, while the Revolutionary war was raging, and 
several Indian tribes had enlisted on the British side, and were 
spreading murder and devastation along our unprotected fron 
tier, I rather rashly determined to take a journey into the country 
on a visit to my friends. Captain White Eyes, the Indian hero, 
whose character I have already described, 1 resided at that time 
at the distance of seventeen miles from the place where I lived. 
Hearing of my determination, he immediately hurried up to me, 
with his friend Captain Wingenund (whom I shall presently have 
occasion further to mention), and some of his young men, for the 
purpose of escorting me to Pittsburg, saying, " that he would not 
suffer me to go, while the Sandusky warriors were out on war 
excursions, without a proper escort and himself at my side." 

1 See ch. 15, p. 151. 


He insisted on accompanying me and we set out together. One 
day, as we were proceeding along, our spies discovered a suspi 
cious track. White Eyes, who was riding before me, enquired 
whether I felt afraid ? I answered that while he was with me, I 
entertained no fear. On this he immediately replied, " You are 
right ; for until I am laid prostrate at your feet, no one shall 
hurt you." And even not then," added Wingenund, who was 
riding behind me ; " before this happens, I must be also over 
come, and lay by the side of our friend Koguethagechton" l I be 
lieved them, and I believe at this day that these great men were 
sincere, and that if they had been put to the test, they would 
have shewn it, as did another Indian friend by whom my life was 
saved in the spring of the year 1781. From behind a log in the 
bushes where he was concealed, he espied a hostile Indian at the 
very moment he was levelling his piece at me. Quick as light 
ning he jumped between us, and exposed his person to the 
musket shot just about to be fired, when fortunately the aggres 
sor desisted, from fear of hitting the Indian whose body thus 
effectually protected me, at the imminent risk of his own life. 
Captain White Eyes, in the year 1774, saved in the same man 
ner the life of David Duncan, the peace-messenger, whom he 
was escorting. He rushed, regardless of his own life, up to an 
inimical Shawanese, who was aiming at our ambassador from 
behind a bush, and forced him to desist. 

I could enumerate many other similar acts, but I think I have 
shewn enough for my purpose. Mr. Zeisberger fully agreed S 
with me in the opinion, that it is impossible to deny to the 
Indians the praise of firm attachment and sincere friendship. It 
is not meant to say, that all will carry that feeling to the same 
pitch of heroism ; but it is certain that there are many among 
them, whose strong attachments and a manly pride will induce 
to risk their lives in the defence of their friends. And, indeed, 
there is no Indian, who would not blush at being reproached 
that after boasting that a particular person was his friend, he had 
acted the coward when his friendship was put to the test, and 
had shrunk from venturing his own life, when there was even a 
chance of saving that of the man whom he professed to love. 

1 The Indian name of Capt. White Eyes. 


! It is not true, as some have supposed, that an Indian s friend 
ship must be purchased by presents, and that it lasts only so 
long as gifts continue to be lavished upon them. Their attach- - 
ments, on the contrary, are perfectly disinterested. I admit that 
they receive with pleasure a present from a friend s hand. They 
consider presents as marks of the giver s good disposition towards 
them. They cannot, in their opinion, proceed from an enemy, 
and he who befriends them, they think must love them. Obli 
gations to them are not burdensome, they love to acknowledge 
them, and whatever may be their faults, ingratitude is not among 
the number. 

Indeed, the friendship of an Indian is easily acquired, provided ^ 
it is sought in good faith. But whoever chooses to obtain it 
must be sure to treat them on a footing of perfect equality. 
They are very jealous of the whites, who they think affect to 
consider themselves as beings of a superior nature and too often 
treat them with rude undeserved contempt. This they seldom 
forgive, while on the other hand, they feel flattered when a white 
man does not disdain to treat them as children of the same 
Creator. Both reason and humanity concur in teaching us this 
conduct, but I am sorry to say that reason and humanity are in 
such cases too little attended to. I hope I may be permitted to 
expatiate a little on this subject; perhaps it may be beneficial to 
some white persons hereafter. 

The Indians are, as I have already observed before, 1 excellent 
physiognomists. If they are accosted by or engaged in business 
with a number of whites, though they may not understand the 
language that is spoken, they will pretty accurately distinguish 
by the countenance, those who despise their colour from those 
who are under the influence of a more generous feeling, and in 
this they are seldom mistaken. They fix their eyes on the whole 
party round, and read as it were in the souls of the individuals 
who compose it. They mark those whom they consider as their 
friends, and those whom they think to be their enemies, and are 
sure to remember them ever after. But what must those expect, 
if a war or some other circumstance should put them into the 
power of the Indians, who, relying on their supposed ignorance 

1 88. 


of our idiom, do not scruple even in their presence to apply to 
them the epithets of dogs, black d Is, and the like ? Will not 
these poor people be in some degree justifiable in considering 
those persons as decidedly hostile to their race ? Such cases 
have unfortunately too frequently happened, and the savages have 
been blamed for treating as enemies those who had so cruelly 
wounded their most delicate feelings ! Many white men have 
been thus put to death, who had brought their fate on them 
selves by their own imprudence. On the other hand, the Indians 
have not failed to mark those who at the time reprobated such 
indecent behaviour and reproached their companions for using 
such improper language. In the midst of war these benevolent 
Christians have been treated as friends, when, perhaps, they had 
forgotten the humane conduct to which they were indebted for 
this kind usage. 

Their reasoning in such cases is simple, but to them always 
conclusive. They merely apply their constant maxim, which 
I believe I have already noticed, that " good can never proceed 
from evil or evil from good, and that good and evil, like hetero 
geneous substances, can never combine or coalesce together." 
How far this maxim is founded in a profound knowledge of 
human nature, it is not my business to determine; what is cer 
tain is that they adhere to it in almost every occasion. If a person 
treats them ill, they ascribe it invariably to his bad heart ; it is 
the bad spirit within him that operates ; he is, therefore, a bad 
man. If on the contrary one shews them kindness, they say he 
is prompted so to act by " the good spirit within him," and that 
he has a good heart ; for if he had not, he would not do good. 
H It is impossible to draw them out of this circle of reasoning, and 
to persuade them that the friendship shewn to them may be dis 
sembled and proceed from motives of interest ; so convinced are 
they of the truth of their general principle, " that good cannot 
proceed from an evil source." 

S The conduct of the Europeans towards them, particularly 
within the last fifty or sixty years, has, however, sufficiently 
convinced them that men may dissemble, and that kind speeches 
and even acts of apparent friendship do not always proceed from 
friendly motives, but that the bad spirit will sometimes lurk 


under the appearance of the good. Hence, when they speak of 
the whites in general, they do not scruple to designate them as 
a false, deceitful race; but it is nevertheless true that with indi 
viduals, they frequently forget this general impression, and revert 
to their own honest principle ; and if a white man only behaves 
to them with common humanity, it is still easy to get access to 
their simple hearts. Such are those brutes, those savages, from 
whom, according to some men, no faith is to be expected, and 
with whom no faith is to be kept ; such are those barbarous 
nations, as they are called, whom God, nevertheless, made the 
lawful owners and masters of this beautiful country ; but who, 
at no very remote time, will probably live, partially live, only 
in its history. 

My object in this chapter is to prove that those men are sus 
ceptible of the noblest and finest feelings of genuine friendship. 
It is not enough that by a long residence among them, I have 
acquired the most complete conviction of this truth; facts and 
not opinions, I know, are expected from me. Perhaps I might 
rest satisfied with the proofs that I have already given, but I 
have only shewn the strength and have yet to display the con 
stancy of their attachments ; and although in the story which I 
am going to relate, -a friend was forced to see his friend perish 
miserably without having it in his power to save him from the 
most terrible death that vengeance and cruelty could inflict, we 
shall not be the less astonished to see him persevere in his 
friendly sentiments, under circumstances of all others the most 
calculated, (particularly to an Indian) not only to have entirely 
extinguished, but converted those sentiments into feelings of 
hatred and revenge. 

I am sorry to be so often obliged to revert to the circumstance 
of the cruel murder of the Christian Indians on the Sandusky 1 
river 2 in the year 1782, by a gang of banditti, under the com 
mand of one Williamson. Not satisfied with this horrid outrage, 
the same band not long afterwards marched to Sandusky, 3 where 

1 For "Sandusky" read "Muskingum" 

2 See above, pages 81, 184. 

3 [Williamson did not lead the expedition against vSandusky, nor was it organized 
for the destruction of the Moravian Indians, then in the Sandusky country. It was 


it seems they had been informed that the remainder of that unfor 
tunate congregation had fled, in order to perpetrate upon them 
the same indiscriminate murder. But Providence had so ordered 
it that they had before left that place, where they had found that 
they could not remain in safety, their ministers having been taken 
from them and carried to Detroit by order of the British govern 
ment, so that they had been left entirely unprotected. The mur 
derers, on their arrival, were much disappointed in finding nothing 
but empty huts. They then shaped their course towards the hos 
tile Indian villages, where being, contrary to their expectations, 
furiously attacked, Williamson and his band took the advantage 
of a dark night and ran off, and the whole party escaped, except 
one Colonel Crawford and another, who being taken by the In 
dians were carried in triumph to their village, where the former 
was condemned to death by torture, and the punishment was 
inflicted with all the cruelty that rage could invent. The latter 
was demanded by the Shawanese and sent to them for punish 

While preparations were making for the execution of this 
dreadful sentence, the unfortunate Crawford recollected that the 
Delaware chief Wingenund, 1 of whom I have spoken in the 
beginning of this chapter, had been his friend in happier times ; 

led by Colonel William Crawford. Sanctioned by General Irvine, then in command 
of the Western Department, the undertaking was intended to be effectual in ending 
the troubles upon the western frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia, by punishing 
the Wyandots, Shawanese, Delawares, and Mingoes, whose war-parties were wont 
to come from their settlements in Sandusky, to kill and devastate along the borders. 
See Butterfield s Crawford s Campaign against Sandusky, for full details touching 
the fitting out of this expedition, its disastrous termination, and the awful death by 
torture of its commanding officer. 

In a letter written by Washington to General Irvine, and dated Headquarters, 6th 
August, 1782, he expresses himself in the following words: " I lament the failure of 
the expedition, and am particularly affected with the disastrous fate of Colonel Craw 
ford. No other than the extremest torture which could be inflicted by the savages, 
could, I think, have been expected by those who were unhappy enough to fall into 
their hands, especially under the present exasperation of their minds from the treat 
ment given their Moravian friends. For this reason, no person should at this time 
suffer himself to fall alive into the hands of the Indians." MS. in the Irvine Col 

1 This name, according to the English orthography, should be written IVinganoond 
or Wingaynoond, the second syllable accented and long, and the last syllable short. 


he had several times entertained him at his house, and shewed 
him those marks of attention which are so grateful to the poor 
despised Indians. A ray of hope darted through his soul, and 
he requested that Wingenund, who lived at some distance from 
the village, might be sent for. His request was granted, and a 
messenger was despatched for the chief, who, reluctantly, indeed, 
but without hesitation, obeyed the summons, and immediately 
came to the fatal spot. 

This great and good man was not only one of the bravest and 
most celebrated warriors, but one of the most amiable men of the 
Delaware nation. To a firm undaunted mind, he joined humanity, 
kindness and universal benevolence ; the excellent qualities of 
his heart had obtained for him the name of Wingenund, which in 
the Lenape language signifies the well beloved. He had kept 
away from the tragical scene about to be acted, to mourn in 
silence and solitude over the fate of his guilty friend, which he 
well knew it was not in his power to prevent. He was now 
called upon to act a painful as well as difficult part; the eyes 
of his enraged countrymen were fixed upon him ; he was an 
Indian and a Delaware ; he was a leader of that nation, whose 
defenceless members had been so cruelly, murdered without 
distinction of age or sex, and whose innocent blood called 
aloud for the most signal revenge. Could he take the part of 
a chief of the base murderers ? Could he forget altogether the 
feelings of ancient fellowship and give way exclusively to those 
of the Indian and the patriot ? Fully sensible that in the situa 
tion in which he was placed the latter must, in appearance, at 
least, predominate, he summoned to his aid the firmness and 
dignity of an Indian warrior, approached Colonel Crawford and 
waited in silence for the communications he had to make. The 
following dialogue now took place between them. 

CRAWF. Do you recollect me, Wingenund ? 

WINGEN. I believe I do ; are you not Colonel Crawford ? 

CRAWF. I am. How do you do ? I am glad to see you, 

WINGEN. (embarrassed) So! yes, indeed. 

CRAWF. Do you recollect the friendship that always existed 
between us, and that we were always glad to see each other ? 


WINGEN. I recollect all this. I remember that we have drunk 
many a bowl of punch together. I remember also other acts of 
kindness that you have done me. 

CRAWF. Then I hope the same friendship still subsists be 
tween us. 

WINGEN. It would, of course, be the same, were you in your 
proper place and not here. 

CRAWF. And why not here, Captain ? I hope you would not 
desert a friend in time of need. Now is the time for you to ex 
ert yourself in my behalf, as I should do for you, were you in my 

WINGEN. Colonel Crawford ! you have placed yourself in a 
situation which puts it out of my power and that of others of 
your friends to do anything for you. 

CRAWF. How so, Captain Wingenund ? 

WINGEN. By joining yourself to that execrable man, William 
son and his party ; the man who, but the other day, murdered 
such a number of the Moravian Indians, knowing them to be 
friends ; knowing that he ran no risk in murdering a people who 
would not fight, and whose only business was praying. 

CRAWF. Wingenund, I assure you, that had I been with him 
at the time, this would not have happened ; not I alone but all 
your friends and all good men, wherever they are, reprobate 
acts of this kind. 

WINGEN. That may be ; yet these friends, these good men 
did not prevent him from going out again, to kill the remainder 
of those inoffensive, ytf. foolish Moravian Indians ! I say foolish, 
because they believed the whites in preference to us. We had 
often told them that they would be one day so treated by those 
people who called themselves their friends ! We told them that 
there was no faith to be placed in what the white men said ; that 
their fair promises were only intended to allure us, that they 
might the more easily kill us, as they have done many Indians 
before they killed these Moravians. 

CRAWF. I am sorry to hear you speak thus ; as to William 
son s going out again, when it was known that he was deter 
mined on it, I went out with him to prevent him from commit 
ting fresh murders. 


WINGEN. This, Colonel, the Indians would not believe, were 
even I to tell them so. 

CRAWF. And why would they not believe it ? 
WINGEN. Because it would have been out of your power to 
prevent his doing what he pleased. 

CRAWF. Out of my power! Have any Moravian Indians 
been killed or hurt since we came out? 

WINGEN. None ; but you went first to their town, and finding 
it empty and deserted you turned on the path towards us ? If 
you had been in search of warriors only, you would not have 
gone thither. Our spies watched you closely. They saw you 
while you were embodying yourselves on the other side of the 
Ohio ; they saw you cross that river ; they saw where you en 
camped at night ; they saw you turn off from the path to the 
deserted Moravian town ; they knew you were going out of your 
way ; your steps were constantly watched, and you were suffered 
quietly to proceed until you reached the spot where you were 

CRAWF. What do they intend to do with me ? Can you tell 

WINGEN. I tell you with grief, Colonel. As Williamson and 
his whole cowardly host, ran off in the night at the whistling of 
our warrior s balls, being satisfied that now he had no Moravians 
to deal with, but men who could fight, and with such he did not 
wish to have anything to do ; I say, as he escaped, and they have 
taken you, they will take revenge on you in his stead. 

CRAWF. And is there no possibility of preventing this? Can 
you devise no way to get me off? You shall, my friend, be well 
rewarded if you are instrumental in saving my life. 

WINGEN. Had Williamson been taken with you, I and some 
friends, by making use of what you have told me, might perhaps, 
have succeeded to save you, but as the matter now stands, no 
man would dare to interfere in your behalf. The king of Eng 
land himself, were he to come to this spot, with all his wealth 
and treasures could not effect this purpose. The blood of the 
innocent Moravians, more than half of them women and chil 
dren, cruelly and wantonly murdered calls aloud for revenge. 
The relatives of the slain, who are among us, cry out and stand 
ready for revenge. The nation to which they belonged will have 


revenge. The Shawanese, our grandchildren, have asked for 
your fellow-prisoner; on him they will take revenge. All the 
nations connected with us cry out Revenge ! revenge ! The 
Moravians whom you went to destroy having fled, instead of 
avenging their brethren, the offence is become national, and the 
nation itself is bound to take REVENGE ! 

CRAWF. Then it seems my fate is decided, and I must prepare 
to meet death in its worst form ? 

WINGEN. Yes, Colonel! I am sorry for it; but cannot do 
anything for you. Had you attended to the Indian principle, 
that as good and evil cannot dwell together in the same heart, 
so a good man ought not to go into evil company ; you would 
not be in this lamentable situation. You see now, when it is 
too late, after Williamson has deserted you, what a bad man he 
must be ! Nothing now remains for you but to meet your fate 
like a brave man. Farewell, Colonel Crawford ! they are com 
ing ; 1 I will retire to a solitary spot. 

I have been assured by respectable Indians that at the close 
of this conversation, which was related to me by Wingenund 
himself as well as by others, both he and Crawford burst into a 
flood of tears ; they then took an affectionate leave of each other, 
and the chief immediately hid himself in the bushes, as the Indians 
express it, or in his own language, retired to a solitary spot. He 
never, afterwards, spoke of the fate of his unfortunate friend 
without strong emotions of grief, which I have several times 
witnessed. Once, it was the first time that he came into Detroit 
after Crawford s sufferings, I heard him censured in his own 
presence by some gentlemen who were standing together for 
not having saved the life of so valuable a man, who was also his 
particular friend, as he had often told them. He listened calmly 
to their censure, and first turning to me, said in his own lan 
guage : " These men talk like fools," then turning to them, he 
replied in English : " If king George himself, if your king had 
been on the spot with all his ships laden with goods and treas 
ures, he could not have ransomed my friend, nor saved his life 
from the rage of a. justly exasperated multitude." He made no 

1 The people were at that moment advancing, with shouts and yells, to torture and 
put him to death. 


further allusion to the act that had been the cause of Crawford s 
death, and it was easy to perceive that on this melancholy sub 
ject, grief was the feeling that predominated in his mind. He 
felt much hurt, however, at this unjust accusation, from men who, 
perhaps, he might think, would have acted very differently in 
his place. For, let us consider in what a situation he found 
himself, at that trying and critical moment. He was a Delaware 
Indian, and a highly distinguished character among his nation. 
The offence was national, and of the most atrocious kind, as it 
was wanton and altogether unprovoked. He might have been 
expected to partake with all the rest of his countrymen in the 
strong desire which they felt for revenge. He had been Craw 
ford s friend, it is true, and various acts of sociability and friend 
ship had been interchanged between them. But, no doubt, at 
that time, he believed him, at least, not to be an enemy to his 
nation and colour, and if he was an enemy, he might have ex 
pected him to be, like himself, a fair, open, generous foe. But 
when he finds him enlisted with those who are waging a war of 
extermination against the Indian race, murdering in cold blood, 
and without distinction of age or sex, even those who had united 
their fate to that of the whites, and had said to the Christians : 
" Your people shall be our people, and your God our God," l was 
there not enough here to make him disbelieve all the former 
professions of such a man, and to turn his abused friendship into 
the most violent enmity and the bitterest rage? Instead of this 1 
we see him persevering to the last in his attachment to a person 
who, to say the least, had ceased to be deserving of it ; we see 
him in the face of his enraged countrymen avow that friendship, 
careless of the jealousy that he might excite ; we see him not 
only abstain from participating in the national revenge, but de 
serting his post, as it were, seek a solitary spot to bewail the 
death of him, whom, in spite of all, he still loved, and felt not 
ashamed to call his friend. 

It is impossible for friendship to be put to a severer test, and 
the example of Wingenund proves how deep a root this senti 
ment can take in the mind of an Indian, when even such circum 
stances as those under which the chief found himself, fail to ex 
tinguish it. 

19 1 Ruth, i. 1 6. 



|HERE was a time when the preachers and prophets 
of the Indians, by properly exerting the unbounded 
influence which the popular superstitions gave them, 
might have excited among those nations such a spirit 
of general resistance against the encroachments of the Europeans, 
as would have enabled them, at least, to make a noble stand 
against their invaders, and perhaps to recover the undisturbed 
possession of their country. Instead of following the obvious 
course which reason and nature pointed out; instead of uniting 
as one nation in defence of their natural rights, they gave ear to 
the artful insinuations of their enemies, who too well understood 
the art of sowing unnatural divisions among them. It was not 
until Canada, after repeated struggles, was finally conquered 
from the French by the united arms *of Great Britain and her 
colonies, that they began to be sensible of their desperate situa 
tion this whole northern continent being now in the posses 
sion of one great and powerful nation, against whom it was 
vain to attempt resistance. Yet it was at this moment that their 
prophets, impelled by ambitious motives, began to endeavour 
by their eloquence to bring them back to independent feelings, 
and create among them a genuine national spirit; but it was too 
late. The only rational resource that remained for them to pre 
vent their total annihilation was to adopt the religion and man 
ners of their conquerors, and abandon savage life for the comforts 
of civilised society ; but of this but a few of them were sensible ; 
in vain Missionaries were sent among them, who, through the 
greatest hardships and dangers exerted themselves to soften their 



misfortunes by the consolations of the Christian faith, and to 
point out to them the way of salvation in this world and the next; 
the banner of Christ was comparatively followed but by small 
numbers, and these were persecuted by their friends, or, at least, 
those who ought to have been such, as well as by their enemies. 
Among the obstacles which the Missionaries encountered, the 
strong opposition which was made to them by the prophets of 
the Indian nations was by no means the least. 

I have known several of these preachers and prophets during 
my residence in the Indian country, and have had sufficient 
opportunities to observe the means which they took to operate 
on the minds of their hearers. I shall content myself with taking 
notice here of a few of the most remarkable among them. 

In the year 1762, there was a famous preacher of the Delaware 
nation, who resided at Cayahaga, near Lake Erie, and travelled 
about the country, among the Indians, endeavouring to persuade 
them that he had been appointed by the great Spirit to instruct 
them in those things that were agreeable to him and to point 
out to them the offences by which they had drawn his dis 
pleasure on themselves, and the means by which they might 
recover his favour for the future. He had drawn, as he pre 
tended, by the direction of the great Spirit, a kind of map on a 
piece of deer skin, somewhat dressed like parchment, which he 
called "the great Book or Writing." This, he said, he had 
been ordered to shew to the Indians, that they might see the 
situation in which the Mannitto had originally placed them, the 
misery which they had brought upon themselves by neglecting 
their duty, and the only way that was now left them to regain 
what they had lost. This map he held before him while preach 
ing, frequently pointing to particular marks and spots upon it, 
and giving explanations as he went along. 

The size of this map was about fifteen inches square, or, per 
haps, something more. An inside square was formed by lines 
drawn within it, of about eight inches each way, two of those 
lines, however, were not closed by about half an inch at the 
corners. Across these inside lines, others of about an inch 
in length were drawn with sundry other lines and marks, all 
which was intended to represent a strong inaccessible barrier, 


to prevent those without from entering the space within, other 
wise than at the place appointed for that purpose. When the 
map was held as he directed, the corners which were not closed 
lay at the left hand side, directly opposite to each other, the one 
being at the south-east by south, and the nearest at the north 
east by north. In explaining or describing the particular points 
on this map, with his fingers always pointing to the place he 
was describing, he called the space within the inside lines " the 
heavenly regions," or the place destined by the great Spirit for 
the habitation of the Indians in future life; the space left open 
at the south-east corner, he called the " avenue," which had been 
intended for the Indians to enter into this heaven, but which was 
now in the possession of the white people, wherefore the great 
Spirit had s.ince caused another " avenue " to be made on the 
opposite side, at which, however, it was both difficult and 
dangerous for them to enter, there being many impediments in 
their way, besides a large ditch leading to a gulf below, over 
which they had to leap ; but the evil spirit kept at this very spot 
a continual watch for Indians, and whoever he laid hold of, 
never could get away from him again, but was carried to his 
regions, where there was nothing but extreme poverty ; where 
the ground was parched up by the heat for want of rain, no fruit 
came to perfection, the game was almost starved for want of 
pasture, and where the evil spirit, at his pleasure, transformed 
men into horses and dogs, to be ridden by him and follow him 
in his hunts and wherever he went. 

The space on the outside of this interior square, was intended 
to represent the country given to the Indians to hunt, fish, and 
dwell in while in this world ; the east side of it was called the 
ocean or " great salt water Lake." Then the preacher drawing 
the attention of his hearers particularly to the south-east avenue, 
would say to them : " Look here ! See what we have lost by 
neglect and disobedience ; by being remiss in the expression of 
our gratitude to the great Spirit, for what he has bestowed upon 
us; by neglecting to make to him sufficient sacrifices; by look 
ing upon a people of a different colour from our own, who had 
come across a great lake, as if they were a part of ourselves ; by 
suffering them to sit down by our side, and looking at them with 


indifference, while they were not only taking our country from 
us, but this (pointing to the spot), this, our own avenue, leading 
into those beautiful regions which were destined for us. Such is 
the sad condition to which we are reduced. What is now to be 
done, and what remedy is to be applied ? I will tell you, my 
friends. Hear what the great Spirit has ordered me to tell you ! 
You are to make sacrifices, in the manner that I shall direct ; to put 
off entirely from yourselves the customs which you have adopted 
since the white people came among us ; you are to return to that 
former happy state, in which we lived in peace and plenty, before 
these strangers came to disturb us, and above all, you must 
abstain from drinking their deadly beson, which they have forced 
upon us, for the sake of increasing their gains and diminishing 
our numbers. Then will the great Spirit give success to our 
arms ; then he will give us strength to conquer our enemies, to 
drive them from hence, and recover the passage to the heavenly 
regions which they have taken from us." 

Such was in general the substance of his discourses. After 
having dilated more or less on the various topics which I have 
mentioned, he commonly concluded in this manner: "And npw, 
my friends, in order that what I have told you may remain 
firmly impressed on your minds, and to refresh your memories 
from time to time, I advise you to preserve, in every family, at 
least, such a book or writing as this, which I will finish off for 
you, provided you bring me the price, which is only one buck 
skin or two doe-skins a piece." l The price was of course bought, 2 
and the book purchased. In some of those maps, the figure of 
a deer or turkey, or both, was placed in the heavenly regions, 
and also in the dreary region of the evil spirit; the former, how 
ever, appeared fat and plump, while the latter seemed to have 
nothing but skin and bones. 

I was also well acquainted with another noted preacher, named 
Wangomend, who was of the Monsey tribe. He began to preach 
in the year 1766, much in the same manner as the one I have 
just mentioned. When Mr. Zeisberger first came to Goschgosch- 

1 Of the value of one dollar. 
2 For "bought" read "brought" 


ink town 1 on the Allegheny river, this Indian prophet became 
one of his hearers, but rinding that the Missionary s doctrine 
did not agree with his own, he became his enemy. This man 
also pretended that his call as a preacher was not of his own 
choice, but that he had been moved to it by the great and good 
Spirit, in order to teach his countrymen, who were on the way 
to perdition, how they could become reconciled to their God. 
He would make his followers believe that he had once been 
taken so near to heaven, that he could distinctly hear the crow 
ing of the cocks, and that at another time he had been borne by 
unseen hands to where he had been permitted to take a peep 
into the heavens, of which there were three, one for the Indians, 
one for the negroes, and another for the white people. That of 
the Indians he observed to be the happiest of the three, and that 
of the whites the unhappiest ; for they were under chastisement 
for their ill treatment of the Indians, and for possessing them 
selves of the land which God had given to them. They were 
also punished for making beasts of the negroes, by selling them 
as the Indians do their horses and dogs, and beating them un 
mercifully, although God had created them as well as the rest of 

The novelty of these visions procured him hearers for a time ; 
he found, however, at last, that the Indians became indifferent 
to his doctrines, particularly as he frequently warned them not 
to drink the poison brought to them by the white people, of 
which his congregation were very fond. Then he bethought 
himself of a more popular and interesting subject, and began to 
preach against witchcraft and those who dealt in the black art. 
Here he had all the passions and prejudices of the poor Indians 
on his side, and he did not fail to meet with the general appro 
bation, when he declared to them that wizards were getting 
the upper hand, and would destroy the nation, if they were not 

1 [A Monsey settlement near the mouth of the Tionesta, within the limits of the 
present Venango County. It was visited by Mr. Zeisberger for the first time in the 
autumn of 1767 ; in the following year it became the seat of a mission. In 1770, the 
Allegheny was exchanged by the missionary and his converts for the Beaver. Zeis- 
bergei s labors at Goschgoschink furnished the subject for Schussele s historical 
painting, " The Power of the Gospel."] 


checked in their career. He travelled in 1775, to Goschachking, 
at the forks of the Muskingum, to lay this business before the 
great council of the Delawares, and take their opinion upon it. 
The first report which the Missionaries on the Muskingum heard 
on this subject, was that the chiefs had at first united in having 
every conjurer and witch in the nation brought to an account 
and punished with death, that, however, on a more mature con 
sideration, they had thought proper in the first place to ascertain 
the number and names not only of those who were known, but 
even of those who were suspected of dealing in sorcery, and 
Wangomend was appointed to cause the enumeration to be 
made. He accordingly hastily set off for his home ; and on his 
arrival immediately entered on the duties of his mission ; when 
behold ! it was discovered that the number of offenders was 
much greater than had been at first imagined, and he found him 
self in danger of having his own name inserted in the black 
list. His zeal, in consequence, became considerably cooled, and 
by the time when he returned the chiefs were no longer disposed 
to meddle with this dangerous subject, justly fearing that it 
could not but terminate in the ruin of their nation. Wango 
mend, therefore, returned to his former mode of preaching, 
recommending to his hearers to purge themselves from sin by 
taking certain prescribed medicines, and making frequent sacri 
fices to the great Spirit. 

The last whom I shall take notice of is the Prophet-warrior 
Tecumseh, lately so celebrated among us, and who lost his life 
in the last war at the battle of the Thames, on the 3Oth of Sep 
tember, 1813, at the age, it is said, of 43 years. The details of 
his military life have been made sufficiently known through the 
medium of journals and newspapers, and his famous speech to 
the British general Proctor delivered at Amhertsburg, a short 
time before the battle which decided his fate, is in every body s 
hands. 1 But his character as a prophet and the means that he 
took to raise himself to power and fame are not so well nor so 
particularly understood, although it is, in general, admitted that 
he was admirably skilled in the art of governing Indians through 

1 See Nile s Weekly Register, vol. i., p. 141, vol. v., p. 174, and vol. vi., p. in. 


the medium of their passions. The sketch which I am going to 
draw will sufficiently prove how well this opinion is founded. 

From the best information that I was able to obtain of this 
man, he was by nation a Shawanese, and began his career as a 
preacher much in the manner that others had done before him. 
He endeavoured to impress upon the minds of his Indian hear 
ers, that they were a distinct people from the whites, that they 
had been created and placed on this soil for peculiar purposes, 
and that it had been ordered by the supreme being that they 
should live unconnected with people of a different colour from 
their own. He painted in vivid colours, the misery that they 
had brought upon themselves by permitting the whites to reside 
among them, and urged them to unite and expel those lawless 
intruders from their country. But he soon discovered that these 
once popular topics no longer produced any effect on the minds 
of the dispirited Indians, and that it was impossible to persuade 
them to resort to strong measures, to oppose the progress of the 
whites, much less to endeavour to drive them beyond the great 
lake. He had long observed that whenever he touched on the 
subject of witchcraft, his discourses were always acceptable to his 
hearers, whose belief in those supernatural powers, instead of 
diminishing, seemed constantly to gain ground. He knew that 
his predecessor, Wangomend, had failed in his endeavour to gain 
influence and power by availing himself of these popular opin 
ions. But his ill success did not deter him from making the 
same attempts. He did not, however, like him, seek the assist 
ance of the national councils, but boldly determined to try what 
his talents and courage could do without any other aid. There 
is a saying among the Indians, " That God ordained man to live 
until all his teeth are worn out, his eyesight dim and his hair 
grey." Of this he artfully availed himself to persuade those igno 
rant people, that the early deaths which constantly took place 
could not be attributed to any natural cause, since it was the will 
of God that every man should live to an advanced old age. 
When he found that he had thus obtained a fast hold on the 
minds of his hearers, by raising their fears of the powers of witch 
craft to the highest pitch, he thought it was time to work on 
their hopes, and after gradually feeling the pulses of those he had 


to deal with, after successively throwing out a great number of 
hints and insinuations, the effects of which he had carefully ob 
served, he at last did what no preacher before him had ventured 
to do, by declaring that the great Mannitto had endowed him 
with supernatural powers, to foretel future events, and to discover 
present secrets, and that he could point out with certainty, not 
only those, whether men or women, who were in the full posses 
sion of the art of witchcraft, but those who had even a tincture 
of it, however small. His bold assertions met with implicit be 
lief, and he obtained by that means such an unlimited command 
over a credulous multitude, that at last, he had only to speak 
the word, or even to nod, and the pile was quickly prepared by 
willing executioners to put to death whomsoever he thought 
proper to devote. Here was a wide field opened for the gratifi 
cation of the worst passions. Whoever thought himself injured, 
denounced his enemy as a wizard ; the least real or pretended 
cause of resentment, nay, even a paltry bribe, would bring the 
most innocent man to the pile or tomahawk, and no one availed 
himself more of this frantic delusion of the populace, than the 
great prophet himself. Having his spies out in every direction, he 
well knew who were his friends and who his enemies, and wo to 
all who were reported to him or even suspected by him to be 
of the latter class ! The tyrant had only to will their deaths, 
and his commands no one durst contradict, but all were ready 
to execute. 

Among the number of his victims was the venerable Wyandot 
Chief Sha-te-ya-ron-yah, called by the whites Leather-lips. He 
was one of those who in August, 1795, signed the treaty of 
Greenville on behalf of the Huron tribe. His only crime was 
honesty, and the honourable character which he had acquired. 
In a fit of jealousy Tecumseh ordered him to be put to death, 
and his commands were but too readily obeyed. I cannot con 
clude this chapter better than by an account of his death, which 
was transmitted to me at the time (in August, 1810) by a re 
spectable and philanthropic gentleman in the state of Ohio. 

The relation which I here transcribe was accompanied with 
the following letter : 


" DEAR SIR I here enclose an imperfect sketch of the execution of 
an unfortunate Indian. From your benevolent exertions, for many 
years, to ameliorate their condition, and the confidence reposed in you 
by them, I trust you may have it in your power successfully to oppose 
the wasteful influence of this prophet over these too credulous people. 
It is the office of humanity and worthy of the attention of the Society 
of the United Brethren. I may be incorrect in the recital of some 
of the circumstances ; it was given to me from respectable sources ; 
sources, in my opinion, entitled to credit. 

"lam, &c." 

"This unfortunate Chief of the Seneca 1 tribe, who had attained 
the sixty-third year of his age, had pitched his camp a few miles 
west of the town of Worthington in the county of Franklinton. 
From his constant attachment to the principles of honesty and 
integrity, he had obtained a certificate from an officer of the gov 
ernment as a testimonial of the propriety of his deportment. 
This aged Chief was suspected by the Prophet, a man of a rest 
less, turbulent spirit, who by his exceeding address, has obtained 
an unbounded influence over many of the northern and western 
tribes of Indians, by impressing upon their minds a belief that 
he is endowed with supernatural knowledge, and can foretel 
events yet to come. This is the same prophet who gathered the 
Indians at Greenville a few years ago, from which meeting so 
much was apprehended. In order that he should no longer 
have anything to apprehend from him (this Indian) he issued 
orders for his immediate death. These orders were given to 
Crane? a chief of the Sandusky tribes, who immediately sat out 
with four other Indians, in quest of the old chief. About three 
weeks ago they found out his camp, and immediately sent his 
brother to him (who was one of their party) with a piece of bark, 
on which they had painted a tomahawk, as a token of his death ! 

1 This appears to be a mistake ; Leather-lips, as has been stated above, was a 
chief of the Wyandots or Hurons, and is so styled in the treaty of Greenville, other 
wise called Wayne s Treaty, where he was one of the representatives of that nation. 

2 The Indian name of this chief was Tar-he; he was also a Wyandot or Huron, 
and one of the signers of the Greenville treaty. How great must have been the 
power of Tecumseh, who trusted the execution of Leather-lips to a chief of the same 
nation ! 


On the same day, Crane and his party spoke publicly in the set 
tlements of the whites of their intention to kill him. When they 
sat out for his camp they were accompanied by five white men, 
amongst whom was a justice of the peace, no doubt to gratify 
their curiosity. Upon their arrival at the camp, they informed 
him of the object of their mission, and that he must prepare to 
meet his fate ! In vain did he remonstrate against the cruelty 
of the sentence ; he told them that he was an old man, and must 
soon die ; that if they would spare him they might have his 
camp, and that he would go far beyond the Mississippi, where 
he would never again be heard of. He also alleged that he was 
a man of honesty, and had done nothing to incur so hard a fate ! 
One of the white men also made an offer of his horse, to save 
the old man from the impending storm. Those offers all proved 
ineffectual. All hopes of a reconciliation now gone, he prepared 
to meet his fate with becoming dignity. While the Indians were 
digging his grave, he dressed himself with his best clothes in 
the war style, and then got his venison and refreshed himself. 
As soon as the grave was finished, he went to it and knelt down 
and prayed most fervently ! He then took an affectionate leave 
of the Indians, and of the white men present, and when he came 
to the one who had offered his horse to redeem him, penetrated 
with gratitude, he burst into a flood of tears, and told him that 
his God would reward him. This was the only instance in which 
the least change could be perceived in his countenance. He was 
then attended to the grave by Crane they knelt down, while 
Crane offered up to the great Spirit his prayers in his behalf. 
The fatal period had now arrived ; they arose from their knees, 
and proceeded a few paces, and seated themselves on the ground. 
The old chief inclined forward, resting his face upon his hand, 
his hand upon his knees ; while thus seated, one of the young 
Indians came up and struck him twice with the tomahawk. For 
some time he lay senseless on the ground. The only evidence 
of life that yet remained, was a faint respiration. The Indians 
all stood around in solemn silence ; finding him to respire longer 
than they expected, they called upon the whites to take notice 
how hard he died, and pronounced him a witch no good they 
struck him again and terminated his existence. He was then 
borne to the grave, where the last sad office was soon performed." 



[HE name of TAMANEND is held in the highest venera 
tion among the Indians. Of all the chiefs and great 
men which the Lenape nation ever had, he stands 
foremost on the list. But although many fabulous 
stories are circulated about him among the whites, but little of 
his real history is known. The misfortunes which have befallen 
some of the most beloved and esteemed personages among the 
Indians since the Europeans came among them, prevent the sur 
vivors from indulging in the pleasure of recalling to mind the 
memory of their virtues. No white man who regards their feel 
ings, will introduce such subjects in conversation with them. 

All we know, therefore, of Tamanend is, that he was an ancient 
Delaware chief, who never had his equal. 1 He was in the highest 
degree endowed with wisdom, virtue, prudence, charity, affability, 
meekness, hospitality, in short with every good and noble quali 
fication that a human being may possess. He was supposed to 
have had an intercourse with the great and good Spirit ; for he 
was a stranger to everything that is bad. 

When Colonel George Morgan, of Princeton in New Jersey, 
was, about the year 1776, sent by Congress as an agent to the 

1 [The earliest record of Tamanen is the affix of his mark to a deed, dated 23d day 
of the 4th month, 1683, by which he and Metamequan conveyed to old Proprietor 
Penn a tract of land, lying between the Pennypack and Neshaminy creeks, in Bucks 
County. Pennsylvania Archives, vol. L, p. 64. Heckewelder gives the signification 
of the Delaware word " tamanen " as affable."} 



western Indians, the Delawares conferred on him the name of 
Tamanend in honour and remembrance of their ancient chief, 
and as the greatest mark of respect which they could shew to 
that gentleman, who, they said, had the same address, affability 
and meekness as their honoured chief, and therefore, ought to 
be named after him. 

The fame of this great man extended even among the whites, 
who fabricated numerous legends respecting him, which I never 
heard, however, from the mouth of an Indian, and therefore be 
lieve to be fabulous. In the Revolutionary war, his enthusiastic 
admirers dubbed him a saint, and he was established under the 
name of St. Tammany, the Patron Saint of America. His name 
was inserted in some calendars, and his festival celebrated on the 
first day of May in every year. On that day a numerous society 
of his votaries walked together in procession through the streets 
of Philadelphia, their hats decorated with bucks tails, and pro 
ceeded to a handsome rural place out of town which they called 
the Wigwam, where, after a long talk or Indian speech had been 
delivered, and the Calumet of peace and friendship had been duly 
smoked, they spent the day in festivity and mirth. After dinner, 
Indian dances were performed on the green in front of the wig 
wam, the calumet was again smoked, and the company separated. 
This association lasted until some years after the peace, when 
the public spirited owner of the wigwam, who generously had 
lent it every year for the honour of his favourite saint, having 
fallen under misfortune, his property was sold to satisfy his 
creditors, and this truly American festival ceased to be observed. 
Since that time, other societies have been formed in Philadelphia, 
New York, and I believe in other towns in the Union, under the 
name of Tammany; but the principal object of these associations 
being party-politics, they have lost much of the charm which was 
attached to the original society of St. Tammany, which appeared 
to be established only for pleasure and innocent diversion. These 
political societies, however, affect to preserve Indian forms in 
their organisation and meetings. They are presided over by a 
Grand Sachem, and their other officers are designated by Indian 
titles. They meet at their " wigwam," at the " going down of 
the sun," in the months of snows, plants, flowers, &c. Their 
distinguishing appellation is always " The Tammany Society." 


TADEUSKUND, or Tedeuskimg, was the last Delaware chief in 
these parts east of the Allegheny mountains. His name makes 
a conspicuous figure in the history of Pennsylvania previous to 
the revolution, and particularly towards the commencement of 
the war of 1756. Before he was raised to the station of a chief, 
he had signalised himself as an able counsellor in his nation. In 
the year 1749, he joined the Christian Indian congregation, and 
the following year, at his earnest desire, was christened by the 
name of Cidem} He had been known before under that of 
Honest John. It was not until the year 1754, that his nation 
called upon him to assume a military command. The French 
were then stirring up the Indians, particularly the Delawares, to 
aid them in fighting the English, telling them that if they suf 
fered them to go on as they before had done, they would very 
soon not have a foot of land to live on. The Susquehannah and 
Fork Indians (Delawares) were then in want of a leading char 
acter to advise and govern them, their great, good, beloved and 
peaceable chief Tademe, (commonly called Tattemi) having some 
time before been murdered in the Forks settlement by a foolish 
young white man. 2 They, therefore, called upon Tadeuskund 

1 [Tadeuskund was baptized at the Gnadenhiitten Mission, (Lehighton, Carbon 
County, Pa.,) by the Moravian Bishop Cammerhoff, of Bethlehem, in March of 1750. 
For additional notices of this prominent actor in the French and Indian war, extracted 
from manuscripts in the Archives of the Moravian Church at Bethlehem, the reader 
is referred to Memorials of the Moravian Church, vol. i., edited by W. C. Reichel, 
Philadelphia, 1870.] 

2 [Moses Tatemy was a convert of, and sometime an interpreter for, David Brain- 
erd, during that evangelist s career among the Delawares of New Jersey and Pennsyl 
vania, who were settled on both sides of their great river, between its forks and the 
Minisinks. A grant of upwards of ZOO acres of land, lying on the east branch of 
Lehietan or Bushkill, within the limits of the present Northampton County, Pa., was 
confirmed to the chief about the year 1737, by the Proprietaries agents, for valuable 
services rendered. On this reservation, Tatemy was residing as late as 1753, and 
probably later. He was there a near neighbour of the Moravians at Nazareth. In 
the interval between 1756 and 1760, he participated in most of the numerous treaties 
and conferences between the Governors of the Province and his countrymen, fre 
quently in the capacity of an interpreter. Subsequent to the last-mentioned year, 
his name ceases to appear on the Minutes of the Provincial Council. He probably 
died in 1761. Such being the facts in the case, Mr. Heckewelder is in error when 
he states that Tatemy lost his life at the hands of a white man prior to 1754. That 
a son of the old chieftain, Bill Tatemy by name, was mortally wounded in July of 
757> by a young man in the Ulster-Scot settlement, (within the limits of Allen town- 


to take upon himself the station of a chief, which, having ac 
cepted, he repaired to Wyoming, whither many of the Fork 
Indians followed him. 

Whatever might have been Tadeuskund s disposition towards 
the English at that time, it is certain that it was a difficult task 
for him, and would have been such for any other chief, to govern 
an exasperated people, entirely devoted to the opposite interest. 
This may account for his not having always succeeded in grati 
fying our government to the extent of its wishes. Yet he did 
much towards lessening the cruelties of the enemy, by keeping 
up an intercourse with the governor of Pennsylvania, and occa 
sionally drawing many from the theatre of war and murder, to 
meet the colonial authorities at Easton or Philadelphia for the 
negotiation of treaties, by which means fewer cruelties were com 
mitted than would otherwise have been. 

His frequent visits to the governor and to the people called 
Quakers (to whom he was much attached, because they were 
known to be friendly to the Indians) excited much jealousy 
among some of his nation, especially the Monseys, who believed 
that he was carrying on some underhand work at Philadelphia 
detrimental to the nation at large ; on which account, and as 
they wished the continuation of the war, they became his 

From the precarious situation Tadcuskund was placed in, it 
was easy to foresee that he would come to an untimely end. 
Perhaps no Indian chief before him ever found himself so 
delicately situated ; mistrusted and blamed by our government 
and the English people generally, because he did not use his 
whole endeavours to keep his nation at peace, or compel them 
to lay down the hatchet ; and accused by his own people of 

ship, Northampton County,) while straying from a body of Indians, who were on 
their way from Fort Allen to Easton, to a treaty, is on record in the official papers of 
that day. This unprovoked assault upon one of their countrymen, as was to be ex 
pected, incensed the disaffected Indians to such a degree, that Governor Denny was 
fain to assure them, at the opening of the treaty, that the offender should be speedily 
brought to justice ; at the same time, he condoled with the afflicted father. Bill Tat- 
emy died near Bethlehem, from the effects of the gun-shot wound, within five weeks. 
He had been sometime under John Brainerd s teaching, at Cranberry, N. J., and was 
a professing Christian.] 


having taken a bribe from the English, or entered into some 
secret agreement with them that would be of benefit to himself 
alone, as he would not suffer them to inflict just punishment on 
that nation for the wrongs they had done them, but was con 
stantly calling upon them to make peace. The Five Nations, 
on the other hand, (the enemies of the Delawares and in alliance 
with England,) blamed him for doing too much for the cause 
which they themselves supported, for making himself too busy, 
and assuming an authority, which did not belong to him the 
leader of a band of women, but to them, the Five Nations alone. 

To do justice to this injured chief, the true secret of his ap 
parently contradictory conduct must be here disclosed. It is 
said by those Indians who knew him best, and who at that time 
had the welfare of their own nation much at heart, that his great 
and sole object was to recover for the Lenni Lenape that dignity 
which the Iroquois had treacherously wrested from them ; thence 
flowed the bitterness of the latter against him, though he seemed 
to be promoting the same interest which they themselves sup 
ported. He had long hoped that by shewing friendship and 
attachment to the English, he would be able to convince them 
of the justice of his nation s cause, who were yet powerful enough 
to make their alliance an object to the British government; but 
here he was greatly mistaken. No one would examine into the 
grounds of the controversy between the Delawares and the Five 
Nations ; the latter, on the contrary, were supported in their un 
just pretensions as theretofore, and even called upon to aid in 
compelling the Lenape to make peace. This unjust and at the 
same time impolitic conduct, of which I have before taken suf 
ficient notice, 1 irritated to the utmost the spirited nation of 
the Delawares, they felt themselves insulted and degraded, and 
were less disposed than ever from complying with the wishes of 
a government which sported in this manner with their national 
feelings, and called in question even their right to exist as an 
independent people. 

Surrounded as he was with enemies, Tadeuskund could not 
escape the fate that had long been intended for him. In the 

1 See above page 67, and see the Errata with reference to that page. 


spring of 1763, when the European nations had made peace, but 
the Indians were still at war, he was burnt up, together with his 
house, as he was lying in his bed asleep. It was supposed and 
believed by many who were present, that this dreadful event was 
not accidental, but had been maturely resolved on by his enemies, 
whoever they were, and that the liquor which was brought to 
Wyoming at the time, was intended by them for the purpose of 
enticing him to drink, that they might the more easily effect their 
purpose. A number of Indians were witnesses to the fact that 
the house was set on fire from the outside. Suspicion fell princi 
pally upon the Mingoes, who were known to be jealous of him, 
and fearful of his resentment, if he should succeed in insinuating 
himself into the favour of the English and making good terms 
with them for his nation. It is said that those Indians were 
concerned in bringing the fatal liquor which is believed to have 
been instrumental to the execution of the design. 

While Tadeuskund was at the head of his nation, he was fre 
quently distinguished by the title of " King of the Delawares." 
While passing and repassing to and from the enemy with mes 
sages, many people called him the " War Trumpet." In his 
person he was a portly well-looking man, endowed with good 
natural sense, quick of comprehension, and very ready in an 
swering the questions put to him. He was rather ambitious, 
thought much of his rank and abilities, liked to be considered as 
the king of his country, and was fond of having a retinue with 
him when he went to Philadelphia on business with the govern 
ment. His greatest weakness was a fondness for strong drinks, 
the temptation of which he could not easily resist, and would 
sometimes drink to excess. This unfortunate propensity is sup 
posed to have been the cause of his cruel and untimely death. 





|HE Indians do not reckon as we do, by days, but by 
nights. They say : " It is so many nights travelling 
to such a place ; " "I shall return home in so many 
nights," &c. Sometimes pointing to the heavens they 
say : " You will see me again when the sun stands there." 

Their year is, like ours, divided into four parts: spring, sum 
mer, autumn, and winter. It begins with the spring, which, 
they say, is the youth of the year, the time when the spirits of 
man begin to revive, and the plants and flowers again put forth. 
These seasons are again subdivided into months or moons, each 
of which has a particular name, yet not the same among all the 
Indian tribes or nations ; these denominations being generally 
suited to the climate under which they respectively live, and the 
advantages or benefits which they enjoy at the time. Thus the 
Lenape, while they inhabited the country bordering on the At 
lantic, called the month which we call March, " the shad moon," 
because this fish at that time begins to pass from the sea into the 
fresh water rivers, where they lay their spawn ; but as there is 
no such fish in the country into which they afterwards removed, 
they changed the name of that month, and called it " the run 
ning of the sap " or " the .w/gYzr-making month," because it is at 
that time that the sap of the maple tree, from which sugar is 
made, begins to run ; April, they call " the spring month," May, 
the planting month, June, the fawn month, or the month in 
which the deer bring forth their young, or, again, the month in 



which the hair of the deer changes to a reddish colour. They 
call July the summer month ; August, the month of roasting ears, 
that is to say, in which the ears of corn are fit to be roasted and 
eaten. September, they call the autumnal month, October, the 
gathering or harvest month; December, the hunting month, it 
being the time when the stags have all dropped their antlers or 
horns. January is called the mouse or squirrel month, for now 
those animals come out of their holes, and lastly, they call Feb 
ruary the frog month, because on a warm day the frogs then 
begin to croak. 

Some nations call the month of January by a name which 
denotes " the sun s return to them," probably because in that 
month the days begin to lengthen again. As I have said before, 
they do not call all the months by the same name ; even the Mon- 
seys, a tribe of the Delawares, differ among themselves in the 
denominations which they give to them. 

The Indians say that when the leaf of the white oak, which 
puts forth in the spring, is of the size of the ear of a mouse, it is 
time to plant corn ; they observe that now the whippoorwill has 
arrived, and is continually hovering over them, calling out his 
Indian name "Wekolis" in order to remind them of the planting 
time, as if he said to them " Hackiheck ! go to planting corn ! " 

They calculate their ages by some remarkable event which 
has taken place within their remembrance, as, for instance, an 
uncommonly severe winter, a very deep snow, an extraordinary 
freshet, a general war, the building of a new town or city by the 
white people, &c. Thus I have heard old Indians say more than 
fifty years ago, that when their brother Miquon spoke to their 
forefathers, they were of such an age or size, they could catch 
butterflies, or hit a bird with the bow and arrow. I have heard 
others say (alluding to the hard winter of 173940) that they 
were born at that time, or that they were then so tall, could do 
certain particular things, or had already some gray hair on their 
heads. When they could not refer precisely to some of those 
remarkable epochs, they would say " so many winters after." 

The geographical knowledge of the Indians is really astonish 
ing. I do not mean the knowledge of maps, for they have noth 
ing of the kind to aid them ; but their practical acquaintance 


with the country that they inhabit. They can steer directly 
through the woods in cloudy weather as well as in sunshine to 
the place they wish to go to, at the distance of two hundred 
miles and more. When the white people express their astonish 
ment, or enquire how they can hit a distant point with so much 
ease and exactness, they smile and answer: "How can we go 
wrong when we know where we are to go to ? " There are many 
who conjecture that they regulate their course by certain signs 
or marks on the trees, as for instance, that those that have the 
thickest bark are exposed to the north, and other similar obser 
vations, but those who think so are mistaken. The fact is, that 
the Indians have an accurate knowledge of all the streams of 
consequence and the courses which they run ; they can tell 
directly while travelling along a stream, whether large or small, 
into what larger stream it empties itself. They know how to 
take the advantage of dividing ridges, where the smaller streams 
have their heads, or from whence they take their source, and in 
travelling on the mountains, they have a full view of the country 
round, and can perceive the point to which their march is di 

Their knowledge of astronomy is very limited. They have 
names for a few of the stars and take notice of their movements. 
The polar star points out to them by night the course which they 
are to take in the morning. They distinguish the phases of the 
moon by particular names ; they say the " new moon," the 
" round moon " (when it is full), and when in its decline, they 
say it is " half round." 

They ascribe earthquakes to the moving of the great tortoise, 
which bears the Island (Continent) on its back. They say he 
shakes himself or changes his position. They are at a loss how 
to account for a solar or lunar eclipse ; some say the sun or 
moon is in a swoon, others that it is involved in a very thick 

A constant application of the mind to observing the scenes 
and accidents which occur in the woods, together with an ardent 
desire to acquire an intimate knowledge of the various objects 
which surround them, gives them, in many respects, an ad 
vantage over the white people, which will appear from the 
following anecdote. 


A white man had, at his camp in a dark night, shot an Indian 
dog, mistaking it for a wolf which had the night before entered 
the encampment and eaten up all the meat. The dog mortally 
wounded, having returned to the Indian camp at the distance of 
a mile, caused much grief and uneasiness to the owner, the more 
so as he suspected the act had been committed from malice 
towards the Indians. He was ordered to enquire into the 
matter, and the white man being brought before him, candidly 
confessed that he had killed the dog, believing it to be a wolf. 
The Indian asked him whether he could not discern the differ 
ence between the " steps " or trampling of a wolf and that of a 
dog, let the night be ever so dark ? The white man answered 
in the negative, and said he believed no man alive could do that; 
on which the whole company burst out into laughter at the 
ignorance of the whites and their want of skill in so plain and 
common a matter, and the delinquent was freely forgiven. 



HOPE I shall be excused for bringing here together 
into one view a few observations and anecdotes which 
either could not well find their places under any of 
the preceding divisions of my subject, or escaped my 
recollection at the proper time. These additional traits will 
contribute something to forming a correct idea of the Indian 
character and manners. 

I have observed a great similarity in the customs, usages, and 
opinions of the different nations that I have seen, however dis 
tant from each other, and even though their languages differ so 
much that no traces of a common origin can be found in their 
etymology. The uniformity which exists in the manners of the 
Christian nations of Europe is attributed to their common relig 
ion, and to their having once been connected together as parts 
of the Roman Empire. But no such bond of union appears to 
have subsisted between the Iroquois, for instance, and the Dela- 
wares, and yet, the language excepted, they resemble each other 
considerably more than the inhabitants of some European coun 
tries. I shall not endeavour to account for this remarkable fact, 
but I think it my duty to state it. 

I have shown in a former chapter 1 that the mythological 
notions of the Delaware Indians prevailed in the same manner 
among the Wabash ; it is not in that alone that those nations 
resemble each other, though living at a great distance. It is the 
custom among the Delawares that if a hunter shoots down a 

1 Ch. 34, pp. 255, 256. 



deer when another person is present, or even accidentally comes 
by before the skin is taken off, he presents it to him, saying, 
" Friend, skin your deer," and immediately walks off. William 
Wells, whom I have before spoken of, once paid me this compli 
ment, and when I asked him the reason, he answered that it was 
the custom among the Indians on the Wabash. 

In the year 1792, I travelled with a number of Indian chiefs 
of various tribes from Post Vincennes to Marietta, and I found 
in most instances that their usages and customs were the same 
that I had observed among the Delawares. 1 

The Indians in general, although they understand and speak 
our language, yet prefer speaking to a white man through an 
interpreter. For this they give various reasons. With some it 
is a matter of pride; as their chiefs deliver their public speeches 
through interpreters, they think that they appear with more dig 
nity when they do the same. Others imagine that their words 
will have greater weight and effect when expressed in proper 

1 [These chiefs were representatives of the seven nations with whom Gen. Putnam 
concluded a treaty in September of the above-mentioned year, and were on their way 
to Philadelphia. 

Note. The following is a copy of the letter written by the Secretary of War to 
Mr. Heckewelder, advising him of Putnam s request that he might be associated with 
him in his mission to the western Indians : 

"WAR DEPARTMENT, 18 May, 1792. 

" SIR. I have the honour to inform you that the United States have for some time 
past been making pacific overtures to the hostile Indians north-west of the Ohio. It 
is to be expected that these overtures will soon be brought to an issue under the di 
rection of Brigadier-General Putnam, of Marietta, who is specially charged with this 

" He is now in this city, and will be in readiness to set out on Monday next, and 
being acquainted with you, he is extremely desirous that you should accompany him 
in the prosecution of this good work. 

" Being myself most cordially impressed with a respect for your character and 
love of the Indians, on the purest principles of justice and humanity, I have cheer 
fully acquiesced in the desire of Gen. Putnam. 

" I hope sincerely it may be convenient for you to accompany or follow him soon, 
in order to execute a business which is not unpromising, and which, if accomplished, 
will redound to the credit of the individuals who perform it. 

"As to pecuniary considerations, I shall arrange them satisfactorily with you. 
" With great respect, I am, sir, your most obedient servant, 

" H. KNOX, 
Secretary of War."] 


grammatical language, while some are afraid of committing 
mistakes when speaking in an idiom not their own. Particularly 
when they have a joke to pass, a hint to give, or a shrewd re 
mark to make, they wish it to have all the advantages of a good 
translation, and that their wit may not be spoiled by a foreign 
accent, improper expression, or awkward delivery. 

Though the Indian is naturally serious, he does not dislike a 
jest on proper occasions, and will, sometimes, even descend to 
a pun. Once at a dinner given at Marietta by the late Colonel 
Sproat, 1 to a number of gentlemen and Indian chiefs of various 
tribes, a Delaware chief, named George Washington, asked me 
what the name of our good friend, the Colonel, meant in the 
Lenape language ? It should be observed that Colonel Sproat 
was remarkably tall. I told him that Sprout (for so the name is 
pronounced) meant in English a shoot, or twig of a tree. " No, 
no," replied the Indian, " no shoot or twig, but the tree itself." 

I have spoken before 2 of the wit of the Indians, and the shrewd 
and pointed remarks which they occasionally make, but passed 
rather lightly on the subject. A few characteristic anecdotes 
will best supply this deficiency. 

An Indian who spoke good English, came one day to a house 
where I was on business, and desired me to ask a man who was 
there and who owed him some money, to give an order in writ 
ing for him to get a little salt at the store, which he would take 
in part payment of his debt. The man, after reproving the 
Indian for speaking through an interpreter when he could speak 
such good English, told him that he must call again in an hour s 
time, for he was then too much engaged. The Indian went out 
and returned at the appointed time, when he was put off again 
for another hour, and when he came the third time, the other 
told him he was still engaged, and he must come again in half 
an hour. My Indian friend s patience was now exhausted, he 
turned to me and addressed me thus in his own language : "Tell 
this man," said he, " that while I have been waiting for his con- 

1 [Col. Ebenezer Sproat was one of the colony which, under the auspices of the 
recently formed Ohio Company, and led by Gen. Putnam, emigrated to the Ohio 
country in the spring of 1788, and founded Marietta.] 

2 Ch. 6, p. 104. 


venience to give me an order for a little salt, I have had time to 
think a great deal. I thought that when we Indians want any 
thing of one another, we serve each other on the spot, or if we 
cannot, we say so at once, but we never say to any one call 
again! call again! call again! three times call again ! There 
fore when this man put me off in this manner, I thought that, to 
be sure, the white people were very ingenious, and probably he 
was able to do what no body else could. I thought that as it 
was afternoon when I first came, and he knew I had seven miles 
to walk to reach my camp, he had it in his power to stop the 
sun in its course, until it suited him to give me the order that I 
wanted for a little salt. So thought I, I shall still have day light 
enough, I shall reach my camp before night, and shall not be 
obliged to walk in the dark, at the risk of falling and hurting 
myself by the way. But when I saw that the sun did not wait 
for him, and I had at least to walk seven miles in an obscure 
night, I thought then, that it would be better if the white people 
were to learn something of the Indians." 

I once asked an old Indian acquaintance of mine, who had 
come with his wife to pay me a visit, where he had been, that I 
had not seen him for a great while? " Don t you know," he 
answered, " that the white people some time ago summoned us 
to a treaty, to buy land of them P" 1 "That is true," replied I, 
" I had indeed forgotten it ; I thought you was just returned from 
your fall hunt." " No, no," replied the Indian, " my fall hunt 
has been lost to me this season ; I had to go and get my share 
of the purchase money for the land we sold." " Well then,^ 
said I, " I suppose you got enough to satisfy you ? " 

INDIAN. " I can shew you all that I got. I have received such 
and such articles, (naming them and the quantity of each), do 
you think that is enough ? " 

HECKEW. " That I cannot know, unless you tell me how 
much of the land which was sold came to your share." 

INDIAN, (after considering a little), " Well, you, my friend ! 
know who I am, you know I am a kind of chief. I am, indeed, 
one, though none of the greatest. Neither am I one of the 

1 For"tfom" read "us." 


lowest grade, but I stand about in the middle rank. Now, as 
such, I think I was entitled to as much land in the tract we sold 
as would lie within a day s walk from this spot to a point due 
north, then a day s walk from that point to another due west, 
from thence another day s walk due south, then a day s walk to 
where we now are. Now you can tell me if what I have shewn 
you is enough for all the land lying between these four marks ? " 

HECKEW. " If you have made your bargain so with the 
white people, it is all right, and you probably have received 
your share." 

INDIAN. " Ah ! but the white people made the bargain by 
themselves, without consulting us. They told us that they 
would give us so much, and no more." 

HECKEW. " Well, and you consented thereto ? " 

INDIAN. " What could we do, when they told us that they 
must have the land, and for such a price ? Was it not better 
to take something than nothing? for they would have the land, 
and so we took what they gave us." 

HECKEW. " Perhaps the goods they gave you came high in 
price. The goods which come over the great salt water lake 
sometimes vary in their prices." 

INDIAN. " The traders sell their goods for just the same prices 
that they did before, so that I rather think it is the land that has 
fallen in value. We, Indians, do not understand selling lands to 
the white people ; for when we sell, the price of land is always 
low ; land is then cheap, but when the white people sell it out 
among themselves, it is always dear, and they are sure to get 
a high price for it. I had done much better if I had stayed at 
home and minded my fall hunt. You know I am a pretty good 
hunter and might have killed a great many deer, sixty, eighty, 
perhaps a hundred, and besides caught many raccoons, beavers, 
otters, wild cats, and other animals, while I was at this treaty. 
I have often killed five, six, and seven deer in one day. Now 
I have lost nine of the best hunting weeks in the season by 
going to get what you see ! We were told the precise time 
when we must meet. We came at the very day, but the great 
white men did not do so, and without them nothing could be 
done. When after some weeks they at last came, we traded, 


we sold our lands and received goods in payment, and when 
that was over, I went to my hunting grounds, but the best 
time, the rutting time, being over, I killed but a few. Now, help 
me to count up what I have lost by going to the treaty. Put 
down eighty deer; say twenty of them were bucks, each buck 
skin one dollar ; then sixty does and young bucks at two skins 
for a dollar; thirty dollars, and twenty for the old bucks, 
make fifty dollars lost to me in deer skins. Add, then, twenty 
dollars more to this for raccoon, beaver, wild cat, black fox, and 
otter skins, and what does the whole amount to ? " 

HECKEW. " Seventy dollars." 

INDIAN. " Well, let it be only seventy dollars, but how much 
might I have bought of the traders for this money ! How well 
we might have lived, I and my family in the woods during that 
time ! How much meat would my wife have dried ! how much 
tallow saved and sold or exchanged for salt, flour, tea and choco 
late ! All this is now lost to us ; and had I not such a good 
wife (stroking her under the chin) who planted so much corn, 
and so many beans, pumpkins, squashes, and potatoes last sum 
mer, my family would now live most wretchedly. I have learned 
to be wise by going to treaties, I shall never go there again to 
sell my land and lose my time." 

I shall conclude this desultory chapter with another anecdote 
which is strongly characteristic of the good sense of the Indians 
and shews how much their minds are capable of thought and 

Seating myself once upon a log, by the side of an Indian, who 
was resting himself there, being at that time actively employed 
in fencing in his corn-field, I observed to him that he must be 
very fond of working, as I never saw him idling away his time, 
as is so common with the Indians. The answer which he re 
turned made considerable impression on my mind; I have 
remembered it ever since, and I shall try to relate it as nearly in 
his own words as possible. 

" My friend ! " said he, " the fishes in the water and the birds 
in the air and on the earth have taught me to work; by their 
examples I have been convinced of the necessity of labour and 
industry. When I was a young man I loitered a great deal 


about, doing nothing, just like the other Indians, who say that 
working is only for the whites and the negroes, and that the In 
dians have been ordained for other purposes, to hunt the deer, 
and catch the beaver, otter, raccoon and such other animals. But 
it one day so happened, that while a hunting, I came to the bank 
of the Susquehannah, where I sat down near the water s edge 
to rest a little, and casting my eye on the water, I was forcibly 
struck when I observed with what industry the Meechgalingus* 
heaped small stones together, to make secure places for their 
spawn, and all this labour they did with their mouths and bodies 
without hands ! Astonished as well as diverted, I lighted my 
pipe, sat a while smoking and looking on, when presently a 
little bird not far from me raised a song which enticed me to 
look that way; while I was trying to distinguish who the song 
ster was, and catch it with my eyes, its mate, with as much grass 
as with its bill it could hold, passed close by me and flew into a 
bush, where I perceived them together busy building their nest 
and singing as they went along. I entirely forgot that I was a 
hunting, in order to contemplate the objects I had before me. 
I saw the birds of the air and the fishes in the water working 
diligently and cheerfully, and all this without hands ! I thought 
it was strange, and became lost in contemplation ! I looked at 
myself, I saw two long arms, provided with hands and fingers 
besides, with joints that might be opened and shut at pleasure. 
I could, when I pleased, take up anything with these hands, hold 
it fast or let it loose, and carry it along with me as I walked. I 
observed moreover that I had a strong body capable of bearing 
fatigue, and supported by two. stout legs, with which I could 
climb to the top of the highest mountains and descend at pleas 
ure into the valleys. And is it possible, said I, that a being so 
formed as I am, was created to live in idleness, while the birds 
who have no hands, and nothing but their little bills to help 
them, work with cheerfulness and without being told to do so ? 
Has then the great Creator of man and of all living creatures 
given me all these limbs for no purpose ? It cannot be ; I will 
try to go to work. I did so, and went away from the village to 
a spot of good land, built a cabin, enclosed ground, planted corn, 

1 Sun-fish. 


and raised cattle. Ever since that time I have enjoyed a good 
appetite and sound sleep ; while the others spend their nights 
in dancing and are suffering with hunger, I live in plenty ; I 
keep horses, cows, hogs and fowls ; I am happy. See ! my 
friend; the birds and fishes have brought me to reflection and 
taught me to work ! " 



>OTHING is so common as the indiscriminate charge 
laid upon travellers of relating strange and wonderful 
things for the mere purpose of exciting admiration 
and raising themselves into consequence. I believe 
for my part that this accusation is in general unjust as well as 
unfair, and that travellers seldom impose upon others except 
when they have been imposed upon themselves. The discredit 
which they have fallen into is more owing to their errors and 
mistakes than to wilful imposition and falsehood. It is therefore 
rendering them and the world an essential service to point out 
the means of avoiding those deceptions, which if not sufficiently 
guarded against, will at last destroy all belief in the accounts 
given by travellers of distant nations and of manners and cus 
toms different from our own. 

The first and most important thing for a traveller is a compe 
tent knowledge of the language of the people among whom he 
is. Without this knowledge it is impossible that he can acquire 
a correct notion of their manners and customs and of the opin 
ions which prevail among them. There is little faith to be placed 
in those numerous vocabularies of the languages of distant nations 
which are to be found in almost every book of voyages or travels ; 
they are generally full of the most ridiculous mistakes ; at least 
(for I must speak only of what I know) those which relate to the 
Indian languages of North America. I was some years ago 
shewn a vocabulary l of the idiom of the Indians who inhabited 

1 Vocabularium Barbaro-Virgineorum, bound with an Indian translation from the 
Swedish of Luther s Catechism. Stockholm, 1696, duod. 



the banks of the Delaware, while Pennsylvania was under the 
dominion of the Swedes, which idiom was no other than the 
pure Unami dialect of the Lenape, and I could hardly refrain 
from laughing at the numerous errors that I observed in it ; for 
instance, the Indian word given for hand in fact means finger. 
This is enough to shew how carelessly those vocabularies are 
made, and how little their authors are acquainted with the lan 
guages that they pretend to teach. 

The cause of these mistakes may be easily accounted for. 
When pointing to a particular object you ask an Indian how it 
is called, he never will give you the name of the genus, but al 
ways that of the species. Thus, if you point to a tree, and ask for 
its name, the answer will be oak, beech, chestnut, maple, &c., as 
the case may be. Thus the Swedish author of the vocabulary 
that I have mentioned, probably happened to point to a finger, 
when he asked what was the Indian word for hand, and on re 
ceiving the answer, without further enquiry enriched his work 
with this notable specimen of Indian learning. 

When I first went to reside among the Indians, I took great 
care to learn by heart the words Koecn & delloundamcn yun ? 
which means What do you call this? Whenever I found the 
Indians disposed to attend to my enquiries, I would point to 
particular objects and repeat my formulary, and the answers 
that they gave I immediately wrote down in a book which I 
kept for the purpose ; at last, when I had written about half a 
dozen sheets, I found that I had more than a dozen names for 
" tree" as many for "fish" and so on with other things, and yet 
I had not a single generic name. What was still worse, when I 
pointed to something, repeating the name or one of the names 
by which I had been taught to call it, I was sure to excite a 
laugh; and when, in order to be set right, I put the question 
Kcecu, &c., I would receive for answer a new word or name 
which I had never heard before. This began to make me be 
lieve that everything was not as it should be, and that I was 
not in the right way to learn the Indian language. 

It was not only in substantives or the proper names of things 
that I found myself almost always mistaken. Those who are 
not acquainted with the copiousness of the Indian languages, 


can hardly form an idea of the various shades and combinations 
of ideas that they can express. For instance, the infinitive Mit- 
zin signifies to eat, and so does Mohoan. Now although the first 
of these words is sufficiently expressive of the act of eating 
something, be it what it may, yet the Indians are very attentive 
to expressing in one word what and how they have eaten, that 
is to say whether they have been eating something which needed 
no chewing, as pottage, mush or the like, or something that re 
quired the use of the teeth. In the latter case the proper word 
is mo/wan, and in the former gwitammen. If an Indian is asked 
k dapi mitzi? have you eaten? he will answer ridapi gimtam- 
men, or n dapi mohoa, according as what he has eaten did or did 
not require the aid of chewing. If he has eaten of both kinds 
of provisions at his meal, he will then use the generic word, and 
say, n dapi mitzi, which means generally, / have eaten. 

These niceties of course escaped me, and what was worse, few 
of the words I had taken down were correctly written. Essen 
tial letters or syllables, which in the rapidity of pronunciation 
had escaped my ear, were almost everywhere omitted. When 
I tried to make use of the words which I had so carefully col 
lected, I found I was not understood, and I was at a loss to dis 
cover the cause to which I might attribute my want of success 
in the earnest endeavours that I was making to acquire the In 
dian tongue. 

At last there came an Indian, who was conversant with the 
English and German, and was much my friend. I hastened to 
lay before him my learned collection of Indian words, and was 
very much astonished when he advised me immediately to burn 
the whole, and write no more. " The first thing," said he, " that 
you are to do to learn our language is to get an Indian ear; when 
that is obtained, no sound, no syllable will ever escape your 
hearing it, and you will at the same time learn the true pronun 
ciation and how to accent your words properly; the rest will 
come of itself." I found he was right. By listening to the na 
tives, and repeating the words to myself as they spoke them, it 
was not many months before I ventured to converse with them, 
and finally understood every word they said. The Indians are 
very proud of a white man s endeavouring to learn their Ian- 


guage ; they help him in everything that they can, and it is 
not their fault if he does not succeed. 

The language, then, is the first thing that a traveller ought to 
endeavour to acquire, at least, so as to be able to make himself 
understood and to understand others. Without this indispen 
sable requisite he may write about the soil, earth and stones, 
describe trees and plants that grow on the surface of the land, 
the birds that fly in the air and the fishes that swim in the waters, 
but he should by no means attempt to speak of the disposition 
and characters of the human beings who inhabit the country, and 
even of their customs and manners, which it is impossible for him 
to be sufficiently acquainted with. And indeed, even with the 
advantage of the language, this knowledge is not to be acquired 
in a short time, so different is the impression which new objects 
make upon us at first sight, and that which they produce on a 
nearer view. I could speak the Delaware language very fluently, 
but I was yet far from being well acquainted with the character 
and manners of the Lenape. 

The Indians are very ready to answer the enquiries that are 
made respecting the usages of their country. But they are very 
much disgusted with the manner which they say some white 
people have of asking them questions on questions, without 
allowing them time to give a proper answer to any one of them. 
They, on the contrary, never ask a second question until they 
have received a full answer to the first. They say of those who 
do otherwise, that they seem as if they wished to know a thing 
yet cared not whether they knew it correctly or properly. There 
are some men who before the Indians have well understood the 
question put to them, begin to write down their answers ; of 
these they have no good opinion, thinking that they are writing 
something unfavourable of them. 

There are men who will relate incredible stories of the Indians, 
and think themselves sufficiently warranted because they have 
Indian authority for it. But these men ought to know that all 
an Indian says is not to be relied upon as truth. I do not mean 
to say that they are addicted to telling falsehoods, for nothing 
is farther from their character ; but they are fond of the marvel 
lous, and when they find a white man inclined to listen to their 



tales of wonder, or credulous enough to believe their superstitious 
notions, there are always some among them ready to entertain 
him with tales of that description, as it gives them an oppor 
tunity of diverting themselves in their leisure hours, by relating 
such fabulous stories, while they laugh at the same time at their 
being able to deceive a people who think themselves so superior 
to them in wisdom and knowledge. They are fond of trying 
white men who come among them, in order to see whether they 
can act upon them in this way with success. Travellers who 
cannot speak their language, and are not acquainted with their 
character, manners and usages, should be more particularly care 
ful not to ask them questions that touch in any manner upon 
their superstitious notions, or, as they are often considered even 
by themselves "fabulous amusements." Nor should a stranger 
ever display an anxiety to witness scenes of this kind, but rather 
appear indifferent about them. In this manner he cannot be 
misled by interested persons or those who have formed a mali 
cious design to deceive him. Whenever such a disposition 
appears (and it is not difficult to be discovered), questions of 
this kind should be reserved for another time, and asked in a 
proper manner before other persons, or of those who would be 
candid and perhaps let the enquirer into the secret. 

I have been led to consider Carver, who otherwise is deserving 
of credit for the greatest part of what he has written on the char 
acter of the Indians, to have been imposed upon in the story 
which he relates of having learned by means of a conjurer (the 
chief priest of the Killistenoes, as he calls him) who pretended 
to have had a conversation with the great Spirit, the precise time 
when a canoe should come, and certain traders who had been 
long expected should arrive. 1 Had Carver resided a longer time 
among the Indians, so as to have acquired a more intimate ac 
quaintance with their customs, 2 he would have known that they 
have one in particular (which I understand is universal among 
all the tribes), which would have easily explained to him what 
he thought so mysterious. Whenever they go out on a journey, 

1 Carver s Travels, Introduction, p. 72. Boston Edit., 1797. 

2 Carver was only 14 months in the Indian country, during which time he says he 
travelled near 4000 miles and visited twelve different nations of Indians. 


whether far or near, and even sometimes when they go out on 
hunting parties, they always fix a day, on which they either will 
return, or their friends at home shall hear from them. They are 
so particular and punctual in "making their word true," as they 
call it, that when they find that at the rate they are travelling, 
they would probably be at home a day or so sooner than the 
time appointed, they will rather lay by for that time than that 
their word should not be precisely made good. I have known 
instances when they might have arrived in very good time the 
day preceding that which they had appointed, but they rather 
chose to encamp for the night, though but a few miles distant 
from their home. They urge a variety of reasons for this con 
duct. In the first place, they are anxious not to occasion disap 
pointment in any case when they can avoid it. They consider 
punctuality as an essential virtue, because, they say, much often 
depends upon it, particularly when they are engaged in wars. 
Besides, when the day of their return is certainly known, every 
thing is prepared for their reception, and the family are ready 
with the best that they can provide to set before them on their 
arrival. If, however, unforeseen circumstances should prevent 
them from coming all on the same day, one, at least, or more 
of them, will be sure to arrive, from whom those at home will 
learn all that they wish to know. 

On all important occasions, in which a tribe or body of Indians 
are concerned or interested, whether they are looking out for the 
return of an embassy sent to a distant nation, for messengers 
with an answer on some matter of consequence, for runners 
despatched by their spies who are watching an enemy s motions, 
or for traders who at stated periods every year are sure to meet 
them at certain places, they always take proper and efficacious 
measures to prevent being surprised. 

The case which appears to have excited so much astonishment 
in Captain Carver, I believe to have been simply this. The In 
dians 1 had at the season that he speaks of failed to arrive at the 
trading place at the time appointed. The Indians who had as 
sembled there for the purpose of meeting them could not be 

1 For " Indians " read " traders" 


ignorant of the cause of their delay, as they had, no doubt, 
learned it by the return of some of their runners sent out for that 
purpose, who, as is their custom, probably informed them that 
another set of runners would be in the next day with further ad 
vices. The priest must have known all this, and the precise spot 
where those fresh runners were to encamp the night preceding 
their arrival, which is always well known and understood by 
means of the regular chain of communication that is kept up. 
These runners say to each other, pointing to the heavens : 
" When the sun stands there, I will be here or at such a particular 
spot," which they clearly designate. The information thus given 
is sure to reach in time the chiefs of the nation. 

The manner in which this priest spoke to Captain Carver of 
his pretended intercourse with the great Spirit, clearly shews 
the deception that he was practising upon him. " The great 
Spirit," said he, " has not indeed told me when the persons we 
expect will be here, but to-morrow, soon after the sun has reached 
his .highest point in the heavens, a canoe will arrive, and the 
people in that will inform us when the traders will come." The 
question, then, which he had put to the great Spirit, " when the 
traders would come? " was not answered, and there was no need 
of asking the Mannitto when the canoes should come, for that 
must have been known already, and that the people in it would 
tell them where the traders were, and when they might be ex 
pected to arrive. 

As in or about the year 1774, I was travelling with some 
Christian Indians, two Indians of the same nation, but strangers 
to us, fell in with us just as we were going to encamp, and joined us 
for the night. One of them was an aged grave-looking man, whom 
I was pleased to see in our company, and I flattered myself with 
obtaining some information from him, as, according to the Indian 
custom, age always takes the lead in conversation. I soon, 
however, perceived, to my great mortification, that he dwelt on 
subjects which I had neither a taste for nor an ear to hear; for 
his topic was the supernatural performances of Indians through 
the agency of an unseen Mannitto. I did not pay any attention 
to what he said, nor did any of our Christian Indians shew marks 
of admiration or astonishment at the stories he was telling, but 


sat in silence smoking their pipes. The speaker having, after 
an hour s time, finished his relations, the oldest Indian in my 
company addressed himself to me and said : " Now you have 
heard what some Indians can perform. Have you ever heard 
the like before, and do you believe all you have heard ? " " There 
are," I answered, " many things that I have heard of the Indians, 
and which I believe to be true, and such things I like to hear ; 
but there are also things which they relate which I do not be 
lieve, and therefore do not wish to know them. While our 
friend here was just now telling us stones of this kind, which I 
cannot believe, I was wishing all the time that he might soon 
have finished and tell us something better." The Indian, taking 
the hint in good part, asked me then what things I should like 
to hear? On which I made this reply : "As you are a man al 
ready in years, and much older than myself, you must have seen 
many things that I have not seen, and heard much that I have 
not heard. Now I should like to hear the history of your life ; 
where you was born, at what age you shot your first deer, what 
things you heard of your father and your grandfather relative to 
old times ; where they supposed the Indians to have come from, 
and what traditions they had respecting them. I should like 
also to know how many children you have had ; how far you 
have travelled in your lifetime, and what you have seen and 
heard in your travels. See ! " added I, " these are the things 
that I should like to hear of the Indians ; anything of the kind 
from you will give me pleasure." The Indian then, highly 
pleased with my candour, readily complied, and having related 
everything remarkable that had come within his observation and 
knowledge, I thanked him, saying that I should never forget 
him nor what he had now related to me, but that I would try to 
forget what he had related in the beginning. The Indians who 
were with me, following the thread of the conversation, continued 
to entertain us with rational stories, and the evening was spent 
very agreeably. In the morning, when we parted, the strange 
Indian whom I had thus rebuked, shook me cordially by the 
hand, saying : " Friend ! you shall never be forgotten by me. 
Indeed I call you n\y friend" 

I would take the liberty to recommend to those who may 


hereafter travel among the Indians, in any part of America, to 
be particular in their enquiries respecting the connexion of the 
different nations or tribes with each other, especially when the 
analogy of their respective languages leads to infer such relation 
ship, as the Indians call it. I beg leave to suggest a few ques 
tions, which, I think, ought always to be asked. They may lead 
to much useful information respecting the various migrations 
and the original places of residence of the Indian nations, and 
perhaps produce more important discoveries. 

1. What is the name of your tribe? Is it its original name; 
if not, how was it formerly called ? 

2. Have you a tradition of your lineal descent as a nation or 

3. To what tribes are you related by blood, and where do 
they reside ? 

4. What is your character or rank in the national family ? 

5. Which among the tribes connected with you is that which 
you call grandfather ? 

6. Where is the great council fire of all the nations or tribes 
connected with yours ? 

7. How do you address the chiefs and council of such a nation 
or tribe ? 

8. What is the badge of your tribe? 

From these and other similar questions, much valuable infor 
mation will probably result. The nation whom another tribe 
calls grandfather, is certainly the head of the family to which 
they both belong. At his door burns the " great national council 
fire," or, in other words, at the place where he resides with his 
counsellors, as the great or supreme chief of the national family, 
the heads of the tribes in the connexion occasionally assemble 
to deliberate on their common interests ; any tribe may have 
a council fire of its own, but cannot dictate to the other tribes, 
nor compel any of them to take up the hatchet against an 
enemy ; neither can they conclude a peace for the whole ; this 
power entirely rests with the great national chief, who presides 
at the council fire of their grandfather. 

Indian nations or tribes connected with each other are not 
always connected by blood or descended from the same original 


stock. Some are admitted into the connexion by adoption. 
Such are the Tuscaroras among the Six Nations ; such the 
Cherokees among the Lenni Lenape. Thus, in the year 1779, 
a deputation of fourteen men came from the Cherokee nation to 
the council fire of the Delawares, to condole with their grand 
father on the loss of their head chief. 1 There are tribes, on the 
other hand, who have wandered far from the habitations of those 
connected with them by blood or relationship. It is certain 
that they can no longer be benefited by the general council fire. 
They, therefore, become a people by themselves, and pass with 
us for a separate nation, if they only have a name ; nevertheless, 
(if I am rightly informed) they well know to what stock or 
nation they originally belonged, and if questioned on that sub 
ject, will give correct answers. It is therefore very important 
to make these enquiries of any tribe or nation that a traveller 
may find himself among. The analogy of languages is the best 
and most unequivocal sign of connexion between Indian tribes ; 
yet the absence of that indication should not always be relied 

It may not be improper also to mention in this place that the 
purity or correctness with which a language is spoken, will 
greatly help to discover who is the head of the national family. 
For no where is the language so much cultivated as in the 
vicinity of the great national council fire, where the orators have 
the best opportunity of displaying their talents. Thus the purest 
and most elegant dialect of the Lenape language, is that of the 
Unami or Turtle tribe. 

1 [They were sent to Goschschoking (Coshocton), the then capital of the Dela 
ware nation, to condole with that people on the death of White Eyes.] 



F lions had painters ! This proverbial saying applies 
with equal force to the American Indians. They 
have no historians among them, no books, no news 
papers, no convenient means of making their griev 
ances known to a sympathising world. Why, then, should not 
a white man, a Christian, who has spent among them the great 
est part of his life, and was treated by them at all times with 
hospitality and kindness, plead their honest cause, and defend 
them as they would defend themselves, if they had but the 
means of bringing their facts and their arguments before an 
impartial public ? 

Those who have never taken the pains to enquire into the real 
character and disposition of the American Indians, naturally 
suppose, that a people who have no code of laws for their gov 
ernment, but where every man is at liberty to do what he 
pleases, where men never forget or forgive injuries, and take 
revenge in their own way, often in the most cruel manner, and 
are never satisfied until they have been revenged, must of course 
be barbarians and savages ; by which undefined words is under 
stood whatever is bad, wicked, and disgraceful to human nature. 
Imagination is immediately at work to paint them as a species 
of monsters, to whom cruelty is an appetite ; a sort of human- 
shaped tigers and panthers, strangers to the finer feelings, and 
who commit acts of barbarity without any excitement but that 
of their depraved inclination, and without even suspecting that 



there are such things in nature as virtue on the one hand and 
crime on the other. 

But nothing is so false as this picture of the Indians. The 
worst that can be said of them is, that the passion of revenge is 
so strong in their minds, that it carries them beyond all bounds. 
But set this aside, and their character is noble and great. They 
have no written laws, but they have usages founded on the most 
strict principles of equity and justice. Murder with them is pun 
ished with death. It is true, that as was the case not many 
centuries ago among the most civilised nations of Europe, the 
death of a man may be compounded for with his surviving rela 
tions ; if, however, they do not choose to accept of the terms 
offered, any one of them may become the executioner of the 

Thieves are compelled to restore what they have stolen, or to 
make satisfactory amends to the injured party; in their default, 
their nearest relations are obliged to make up the loss. If the 
thief, after sufficient warning, continues his bad practices, he is 
disowned by his nation, and any one may put him to death the 
next time that he is caught in the act of stealing, or that it can 
be clearly proved to have been committed by him. I have given 
two instances of the kind in a former chapter, 1 and I recollect 
another which will put what I have said in the strongest light. 
I once knew an Indian chief, who had a son of a vicious disposi 
tion, addicted to stealing, and who would take no advice. His 
father, tired and unable to satisfy all the demands which were 
made upon him for the restitution of articles stolen by his son, 
at last issued his orders for shooting him the next time he 
should be guilty of a similar act. 

As to crimes and offences of an inferior nature to murder and 
theft, they are left to the injured party to punish in such manner 
as he thinks proper. Such are personal insults and threats, 
which among those people are not considered as slight matters. 
If the will and intention of the aggressor appear to be bad ; if 
the insult offered is considered as the forerunner of something 
worse ; or, as the Indians express themselves, if the " murdering 

1 Ch. 7, p. in. 


spirit" is "alive" within him who offers or threatens violence 
to another, they think themselves justified in preventing the 
act meditated against them ; in such a case, they consider the 
killing the aggressor as an act of necessity and self defence. 
Yet it is very rarely, indeed, that such punishments are inflicted. 1 
The Indians, in general, avoid giving offence as much as possi 
ble. They firmly believe that bad thoughts and actions proceed 
from the evil spirit, and carefully avoid every thing that is bad. 

Every person who is well acquainted with the true character 
of the Indians will admit that they are peaceable, sociable, oblig 
ing, charitable, and hospitable among themselves, and that those 
virtues are, as it were, a part of their nature. In their ordinary 
intercourse, they are studious to oblige each other. They neither 
wrangle nor fight ; they live, I believe, as peaceably together as 
any people on earth, and treat one another with the greatest re 
spect. That they are not devoid of tender feelings has been 
sufficiently shewn in the course of this work. I do not mean to 
speak of those whose manners have been corrupted by a long 
intercourse with the worst class of white men ; they are a degen 
erate race, very different from the true genuine Indians whom 
I have attempted to describe. 

If any one should be disposed to think that I have exaggera 
ted in the picture which I have drawn of these original people, as 
they call themselves, I appeal to the numerous impartial writers 
who have given the same testimony respecting them. What 
says Christopher Columbus himself of the American Indians in 
his letters to his sovereign ? " There are not," says he, " a better 
people in the world than these; more affectionate, affable, or 
mild. They love their neighbours as themselves" 

Similar encomiums were passed on them by some of the first 
Englishmen who came to settle in this country. The Reverend 
Mr. Cushman, in a sermon preached at Plymouth in 1620, says: 
" The Indians are said to be the most cruel and treacherous 
people in all those parts, even like lions ; but to us they have 
been like lambs, so kind, so submissive and trusty, as a man 
may truly say, many Christians are not so kind and sincere." 

1 See above, ch. 18, p. 172. 


The learned Dr. Elias Boudinot, of Burlington, in New Jersey 
(a man well remembered as one of the most eminent leaders of 
the American Revolution), 1 in a work 2 which, whatever opinion 
may be entertained of the hypothesis that he contends for, well 
deserves to be read, for the spirit which it breathes and the facts 
that it contains, has brought together in one view, the above 
and many other authorities of eminent men in favour of the 
American Indians, and in proof that their character is such as I 
have described. I shall not repeat after him what Las Casas, 
William Penn, Bryan Edwards, the Abbe Clavigero, Father 
Charlevoix and others, have said on the same subject; those 
numerous and weighty testimonies may be found in the work to 
which I have referred. 3 But I cannot refrain from transcribing 
the opinion of the venerable author himself, to which his high 
character, his learning, and independence, affix a more than 
common degree of authority. 

" It is a matter of fact," says Dr. Boudinot, " proved by most 
historical accounts, that the Indians, at our first acquaintance 
with them, generally manifested themselves kind, hospitable and 
generous to the Europeans, so long as they were treated with 
justice and humanity. But when they were, from a thirst of 
gain, over-reached on many occasions, their friends and relations 
treacherously entrapped and carried away to be sold for slaves, 
themselves injuriously oppressed, deceived and driven from their 
lawful and native possessions; what ought to have been ex 
pected, but inveterate enmity, hereditary animosity, and a spirit 
of perpetual revenge? To whom should be attributed the evil 
passions, cruel practices and vicious habits to which they are 
now changed, but to those who first set them the example, laid 
the foundation and then furnished the continual means for 
propagating and supporting the evil ? " 4 

1 Dr. Boudinot was long a member, and once President, of the Continental Con 
gress, and his talents were very useful to the cause which he had embraced. At a 
very advanced age, he now enjoys literary ease in a dignified retirement. 

2 A Star in the West, or a humble attempt to discover the long lost ten tribes of 
Israel, preparatory to their return to their beloved city, Jerusalem. Trenton (New 
Jersey), 1816. 

3 See page 140, and following. 

4 Star in the West, p. 138. 


Such was the original character of the Indians, stamped, as it 
were, upon them by nature; but fifty or sixty years back, 
whole communities of them bore the stamp of this character, 
difficult now to be found within the precincts of any part of their 
territory bordering on the settlements of the white people ! 

What ! will it be asked, can this be a true picture of the char 
acter of the Indians ; of those brutes, barbarians, savages, men 
without religion or laws, who commit indiscriminate murders, 
without distinction of age or sex? Have they not in number 
less instances desolated our frontiers, and butchered our people? 
Have they not violated treaties and deceived the confidence that 
we placed in them ? No, no ; they are beasts of prey in the 
human form ; they are men with whom no faith is to be kept, 
and who ought to be cut off from the face of the earth ! 

Stop, my friends! hard names and broad assertions are neither 
reasons nor positive facts. I am not prepared to enter into a 
discussion with you on the comparative merits or demerits of 
the Indians and whites ; for I am unskilled in argument, and 
profess only to be a plain matter of fact man. To facts there 
fore I will appeal. I admit that the Indians have sometimes 
revenged, cruelly revenged, the accumulated wrongs which they 
have suffered from unprincipled white men ; the love of revenge 
is a strong passion which their imperfect religious notions have 
not taught them to subdue. But how often have they been the 
aggressors in the unequal contests which they have had to sus 
tain with the invaders of their country ? In how many various 
shapes have they not been excited and their passions roused to 
the utmost fury by acts of cruelty and injustice on the part of 
the whites, who have made afterwards the country ring with 
their complaints against the lawless savages, who had not the 
means of being heard in their defence? I shall not pursue these 
questions any farther, but let the facts that I am going to relate 
speak for themselves. 

In the summer of the year 1763, some friendly Indians from a 
distant place, came to Bethlehem to dispose of their peltry for 
manufactured goods and necessary implements of husbandry. 
Returning home well satisfied, they put up the first night at a 


tavern, eight miles distant from this place. 1 The landlord not 
being at home, his wife took the liberty of encouraging the 
people who frequented her house for the sake of drinking to 
abuse those Indians, adding, " That she would freely give a 
gallon of rum to any one of them that should kill one of these 

black d Is." Other white people from the neighbourhood 

came in during the night, who also drank freely, made a great 
deal of noise, and increased the fears of those poor Indians, who, 
for the greatest part, understanding English, could not but sus 
pect that something bad was intended against their persons. 
They were not, however, otherwise disturbed : but in the morn 
ing, when, after a restless night, they were preparing to set off, 
they found themselves robbed of some of the most valuable 
articles they had purchased, and on mentioning this to a man 
who appeared to be the bar-keeper, they were ordered to leave 
the house. Not being willing to lose so much property, they 
retired to some distance into the woods, where, some of them 
remaining with what was left them, the others returned to 
Bethlehem and lodged their complaint with a justice of the 
peace. The magistrate gave them a letter to the landlord, press 
ing him without delay to restore to the Indians the goods that 
had been taken from them. But behold ! when they delivered 
that letter to the people at the inn, they were told in answer : 
" that if they set any value on their lives, they must make off 
with themselves immediately." They well understood that they 
had no other alternative, and prudently departed without having 
received back any of their goods. 2 Arrived at Nescopeck 3 on 
the Susquehannah, they fell in with some other Delawares, who 
had been treated much in the same manner, one of them having 
had his rifle stolen from him. Here the two parties agreed to 

1 This relation is authentic. I have received it from the mouth of the chief of the 
injured party, and his statement was confirmed by communications made at the time 
by two respectable magistrates of the county. 

2 [This outrage was committed at the public house of John Stenton, which stood 
on the road leading from Bethlehem to Fort Allen, a short mile north of the present 
Howertown, Allen township, Northampton County. Stenton belonged to the Scotch- 
Irish, who settled in that region as early as 1728.] 

3 [Nescopeck was an Indian settlement on the highway of Indian travel between 
Fort Allen and the Wyoming Valley.] 


take revenge in their own way, for those insults and robberies 
for which they could obtain no redress ; and that they deter 
mined to do as soon as war should be again declared by their 
nation against the English. 

Scarcely had these Indians retired, when in another place, 
about fourteen miles distant from the former, one man, two 
women and a child, all quiet Indians, were murdered in a most 
wicked and barbarous manner, by drunken militia officers and 
their men, for the purpose of getting their horse and the goods 
they had just purchased. 1 One of the women, falling on her 
knees, begged in vain for the life of herself and her child, while 
the other woman, seeing what was doing, made her escape to 
the barn, where she endeavoured to hide herself on the top of 
the grain. She however was discovered, and inhumanly thrown 
down on the threshing floor with such force that her brains flew 
out. 2 

Here, then, were insults, robberies and murders, all committed 
within the short space of three months, unatoned for and unre- 
venged. There was no prospect of obtaining redress ; the sur 
vivors were therefore obliged to seek some other means to obtain 
revenge. They did so ; the Indians, already exasperated against 
the English in consequence of repeated outrages, and considering 
the nation as responsible for the injuries which it did neither 
prevent nor punish, and for which it did not even offer to make 
any kind of reparation, at last declared war, and then the injured 
parties were at liberty to redress themselves for the wrongs they 
had suffered. They immediately started against the objects of 
their hatred, and finding their way, unseen and undiscovered, to 
the inn which had been the scene of the first outrage, they at 
tacked it at daybreak, fired into it on the people within, who were 
lying in their beds. Strange to relate! the murderers of the man, 
two women, and child, were among them. They were mortally 
wounded, and died of their wounds shortly afterwards. The 
Indians, after leaving this house, murdered by accident an inno- 

1 Justice Geiger s letter to Justice Horsefield proves this fact. 

2 [These unprovoked barbarities were perpetrated by a squad of soldiers who, in 
command of Captain Jacob Wetterholt, of the Provincial service, were in quarters 
nt the Lehigh Water Gap, Carbon County, Pa ] 


cent family, having mistaken the house that they meant to attack, 
after which they returned to their homes. 1 

Now a violent hue and cry was raised against the Indians 
no language was too bad, no crimes too black to brand them 
with. No faith was to be placed in those savages ; treaties with 
them were of no effect ; they ought to be cut off from the face 
of the earth ! Such was the language at that time in everybody s 
mouth ; the newspapers were filled with accounts of the cruelties 
of the Indians, a variety of false reports were circulated in order 
to rouse the people against them, while they, the really injured 
party, having no printing presses among them, could not make 
known the story of their grievances. 

" No faith can be placed in what the Indians promise at trea 
ties ; for scarcely is a treaty concluded than they are again mur 
dering us." Such is our complaint against these unfortunate 
people ; but they will tell you that it is the white men in whom 
no faith is to placed. They will tell you, that there is not a 
single instance in which the whites have not violated the engage 
ments that they had made at treaties. They say that when they 
had ceded lands to the white people, and boundary lines had 
been established " firmly established ! " beyond which no 
whites were to settle ; scarcely was the treaty signed, when 
white intruders again were settling and hunting on their lands! 
It is true that when they preferred their complaints to the gov 
ernment, the government gave them many fair promises, and 
assured them that men would be sent to remove the intruders 
by force from the usurped lands. The men, indeed, came, but 
with chain and compass in their hands, taking surveys of the 

1 [In this paragraph, Mr. Heckewelder briefly alludes to the last foray made by 
Indians into old Northampton County, south of the Blue Mountain. It occurred on 
the 8th of October, 1763. An account of the affair at Stenton s, on the morning of 
that day, in which Stenton was shot dead, and Captain Jacob Wetterholt and several 
of his men seriously or mortally wounded, was published in Franklin s Pennsylvania 
Gazette, of October 1 8th, 1763. Leaving Stenton s, after the loss of one of their 
number, the Indians crossed the Lehigh, and on their way to a store and tavern on 
the Copley creek, (where they also had been wronged by the whites,) they murdered 
several families residing within the limits of the present Whitehall township, Lehigh 
County. Laden with plunder, they then struck for the wilderness north of the Blue 
Mountain. Upwards of twenty settlers were killed or captured on that memorable 
day, and the buildings on several farms were laid in ashes.] 


tracts of good land, which the intruders, from their knowledge 
of the country, had pointed out to them ! 

What was then to be done, when those intruders would not 
go off from the land, but, on the contrary, increased in numbers? 
" Oh ! " said those people, (and I have myself frequently heard 
this language in the Western country,) " a new treaty will soon 
give us all this land; nothing is now wanting but a pretence to 
pick a quarrel with them ! " Well, but in what manner is this 
quarrel to be brought about ? A David Owen, a Walker, and 
many others, might, if they were alive, easily answer this ques 
tion. A precedent, however, may be found, on perusing Mr. 
Jefferson s Appendix to his Notes on Virginia. On all occa 
sions, when the object is to murder Indians, strong liquor is 
the main article required ; for when you have them dead drunk, 
you may do to them as you please, without running the risk of 
losing your life. And should you find that the laws of your 
country may reach you where you are, you have only to escape 
or conceal yourself for a while, until the storm has blown over! 
I well recollect the time when thieves and murderers of Indians 
fled from impending punishment across the Susquehannah, where 
they considered themselves safe ; on which account this river 
had the name given to it of "the rogue s river" I have heard 
other rivers called by similar names. 

In the year 1742, the Reverend Mr. Whitefield offered the 
Nazareth Manor (as it was then called) for sale to the United 
Brethren. 1 He had already begun to build upon it a spacious 
stone house, intended as a school house for the education of 
negro children. The Indians, in the meanwhile, loudly ex 
claimed against the white people for settling in this part of 
the country, which had not yet been legally purchased of 
them, but, as they said, had been obtained by fraud. 2 The 

1 [The 5,000 acres at Nazareth, which Whitefield sold to the Moravians in 1741, 
were first held by Lsetitia Aubrey, to whom it had been granted by her father, Wil 
liam Penn, in 1682. The right of erecting this tract, or any portion thereof, into a 
manor, of holding court-baron thereon, and of holding views of frankpledge for the 
conservation of the peace, were special privileges accorded to the grantee by the 
grantor. It was one of few of the original grants similarly invested. The royalty, 
however, in all cases remained a dead letter.] 

2 Alluding to what was at that time known by the name of the long day s walk. 


Brethren declined purchasing any lands on which the Indian 
title had not been properly extinguished, wishing to live in 
peace with all the Indians around them. Count Zinzendorff 
happened at that time to arrive in the country ; he found that 
the agents of the proprietors would not pay to the Indians the 
price which they asked for that tract of land ; he paid them out 
of his private purse the whole of the demand which they made 
in the height of their ill temper, and moreover gave them per 
mission to abide on the land, at their village, (where, by the 
by, they had a fine large peach orchard,) as long as they should 
think proper. But among those white men, who afterwards 
came and settled in the neighbourhood of their tract, there 
were some who were enemies to the Indians, and a young 
Irishman, without cause or provocation, murdered their good 
and highly respected chief Tademi^ a man of such an easy and 
friendly address, that he could not but be loved by all who knew 
him. This, together with the threats of other persons, ill dis 
posed towards them, was the cause of their leaving their settle 
ment on this manor, and removing to places of greater safety 

It is true, that when flagrant cases of this description occurred 
the government, before the Revolution, issued proclamations 
offering rewards for apprehending the offenders, and in later 
times, since the country has become more thickly settled, those 
who had been guilty of such offences were brought before the 
tribunals to take their trials. But these formalities have proved 
of little avail. In the first case, the criminals were seldom, if 
ever, apprehended ; in the second, no jury could be found to 
convict them ; for it was no uncommon saying among many of 
the men of whom juries in the frontier countries were commonly 
composed, that no man should be put to death for killing an In 
dian ; for it was the same thing as killing a wild beast ! 

But what shall I say of the conduct of the British agents, or 
deputy agents, or by whatsoever other name they may be called, 
who, at the commencement of the American Revolution, openly 
excited the Indians to kill and destroy all the rebels without 
distinction? "Kill all the rebels," they would say, "put them 

1 See above, p. 302. 


all to death, and spare none." A veteran chief of the Wyandot 
nation, who resided near Detroit, observed to one of them that 
surely it was meant that they should kill men only, and not 
women and children. " No, no," was the answer, " kill all, de 
stroy all ; nits breed lice ! " The brave veteran 1 was so disgusted 
with this reply, that he refused to go out at all ; wishing how 
ever to see and converse with his old brother soldiers of the 
Delaware nation, with whom he had fought against the English 
in the French war, he took the command of a body of ninety 
chosen men, and being arrived at the seat of the government of 
the Delawares, on the Muskingum, he freely communicated to 
his old comrades (among whom was Glikhican, whom I shall 
presently have occasion further to mention) what had taken 
place, and what he had resolved on ; saying that he never would 
be guilty of killing women and children ; that this was the first 
and would be the last of his going out this war ; that in ten days 
they should see him come back with one prisoner only, no scalp to 
a pole, and no life lost. He kept his word. The sixteen chiefs 
under him, from respect and principle, agreed to all his propo 
sals and wishes. 

How different the conduct of the Indians from that of their 
inhuman employers ! I have already related the noble speech 
of Captain Pipe to the British Commandant at Detroit, and I have 
done justice to the character of that brave officer, who surely 
ought not to be confounded with those Indian agents that I have 
spoken of. But what said Pipe to him ? " Innocence had no 
part in your quarrels ; and therefore I distinguished I spared. 
Father ! I hope you will not destroy what I have saved ! " 2 I 
have also told the conduct of the two young spirited Delawares 3 
who saved the life of the venerable Missionary Zeisberger, at the 
risk of their own. But it is not only against their own people 
that Indians have afforded their protection to white men, but 
against the whites themselves. 

In the course of the Revolutionary war, in which (as in all civil 
commotions) brother was seen fighting against brother, and 

1 The same of whom I have spoken above, p. 171. 

2 See above, pp. 135, 136. 3 Above, p. 279. 


friend against friend, a party of Indian warriors, with whom one 
of those white men, who, under colour of attachment to their 
king, indulged in every sort of crimes, was going out against the 
settlers on the Ohio, to kill and destroy as they had been or 
dered. The chief of the expedition had given strict orders not 
to molest any of the white men who lived with their friends the 
Christian Indians; yet as they passed near a settlement of these 
converts, the white man, unmindful of the orders he had received, 
attempted to shoot two of the Missionaries who were planting 
potatoes in their field, and though the captain warned him to 
desist, he still obstinately persisted in his attempt. The chief, 
in anger, immediately took his gun from him, and kept him un 
der guard until they had reached a considerable distance from the 
place. I have received this account from the chief himself, who 
on his return sent word to the Missionaries that they would do 
well not to go far from home, as they were in too great danger 
from the white people. 

Another white man of the same description, whom I well 
knew, related with a kind of barbarous exultation, on his return 
to Detroit from a war excursion with the Indians in which he 
had been engaged, that the party with which he was, having 
taken a woman prisoner who had a sucking babe at her breast, 
he tried to persuade the Indians to kill the child, lest its cries 
should discover the place where they were ; the Indians were 
unwilling to commit the deed, on which the white man at once 
jumped up, tore the child from its mother s arms and taking it 
by the legs dashed its head against a tree, so that the brains flew 
out all around. The monster in relating this story said, " The 
little dog all the time was making wee ! " He added, that if he 
were sure that his old father, who some time before had died in 
Old Virginia, would, if he had lived longer, have turned rebel, 
he would go all the way into Virginia, raise the body, and take 
off his scalp ! 

Let us now contrast with this the conduct of the Indians. 
Carver tells us in his travels with what moderation, humanity 
and delicacy they treat female prisoners, and particularly preg 
nant women. 1 I refer the reader to the following fact, as an in- 

1 Carver s Travels, ch. 9, p. 196. Edit, above cited. 


stance of their conduct in such cases. If his admiration is excited 
by the behaviour of the Indians, I doubt not that his indignation 
will be raised in an equal degree by that of a white man who un 
fortunately acts a part in the story. 

A party of Delawares, in one of their excursions during the 
Revolutionary war, took a white female prisoner. The Indian 
chief, after a march of several days, observed that she was ailing, 
and was soon convinced (for she was far advanced in her preg 
nancy) that the time of her delivery was near. He immediately 
made a halt on the bank of a stream, where at a proper distance 
from the encampment, he built for her a close hut of peeled 
barks, gathered dry grass and fern to make her a bed, and placed 
a blanket at the opening of the dwelling as a substitute for a 
door. He then kindled a fire, placed a pile of wood near it to 
feed it occasionally, and placed a kettle of water at hand where 
she might easily use it. He then took her into her little infir 
mary, gave her Indian medicines, with directions how to use 
them, and told her to rest easy and she might be sure that noth 
ing should disturb her. Having done this, he returned to his 
men, forbade them from making any noise, or disturbing the 
sick woman in any manner, and told them that he himself should 
guard her during the night. He did so, and the whole night 
kept watch before her door, walking backward and forward, to 
be ready at her call at any moment, in case of extreme necessity. 
The night passed quietly, but in the morning, as he was walking 
by on the bank of the stream, seeing him through the crevices, 
she called to him and presented her babe. The good chief, with 
tears in his eyes, rejoiced at her safe delivery; he told her 
not to be uneasy, that he should lay by for a few days and 
would soon bring her some nourishing food, and some medi 
cines to take. Then going to his encampment, he ordered all 
his men to go out a hunting, and remained himself to guard 
the camp. 

Now for the reverse of the picture. Among the men whom 
this chief had under his command, was one of those white 
vagabonds whom I have before described. The captain was 
much afraid of him, knowing him to be a bad man ; and as he 
had expressed a great desire to go a hunting with the rest, 


he believed him gone, and entertained no fears for the woman s 
safety. But it was not long before he was undeceived. While 
he was gone to a small distance to dig roots for his poor 
patient, he heard her cries, and running with speed to her hut, 
he was informed by her that the white man had threatened to 
take her life if she did not immediately throw her child into the 
river. The Captain, enraged at the cruelty of this man, and the 
liberty he had taken with his prisoner, hailed him as he was 
running off, and told him, "That the moment he should miss 
the child, the tomahawk should be in his head." After a 
few days this humane chief placed the woman carefully on a 
horse, and they went together to the place of their destina 
tion, the mother and child doing well. I have heard him relate 
this story, to which he added, that whenever he should go out 
on an excursion, he never would suffer a white man to be of 
his party. 

Yet I must acknowledge that I have known an Indian chief 
who had been guilty of the crime of killing the child of a 
female prisoner. It was Glikhican, 1 of whom I have before 
spoken, as one of the friends of the brave Wyandot who ex 
pressed so much horror at the order given to him by the Indian 
agents to murder women and children. 2 In the year 1770, he 
joined the congregation of the Christian Indians ; the details of 
his conversion are related at large by Loskiel in his History of 
the Missions. 3 Before that time he had been conspicuous as a 
warrior and a counsellor, and in oratory it is said he never was 
surpassed. This man, having joined the French, in the year 
1754, or 1755, in their war against the English, and being at 
that time out with a party of Frenchmen, took, among other 
prisoners, a young woman named Rachel Abbott, from the Cone- 

1 [Glikhican, one of the converts of distinction attached to the Moravian mission, 
was a man of note among his people, both in the council chamber and on the war 
path. When the Moravians first met him he resided at Kaskaskunk, on the Beaver, 
and at Friedenstadt, on that river, he was baptized by David Zeisberger in December 
of 1770. Subsequently he became a " national assistant " in the work of the Gospel, 
lived consistently with his profession, and met his death at the hands of William- 
son s men at Gnadenhutten in March of 1782.] 

2 See above, p. 338. 

8 Loskiel, p. 3, ch. 3. 


gocheague settlement, 1 who had at her breast a sucking babe. 
The incessant cries of the child, the hurry to get off, but above 
all, the persuasions of his white companions, induced him, much 
against his inclination, to kill the innocent creature ; while the 
mother, in an agony of grief, and her face suffused with tears, 
begged that its life might be spared. The woman, however, was 
brought safe to the Ohio, where she was kindly treated and 
adopted, and some years afterwards was married to a Delaware 
chief of respectability, by whom she had several children, who 
are now living with the Christian Indians in Upper Canada. 

Glikhican never forgave himself for having committed this 
crime, although many times, and long before his becoming a 
Christian, he had begged the woman s pardon with tears in his 
eyes, and received her free and full forgiveness. In vain she 
pointed out to him all the circumstances that he could have 
alleged to excuse the deed ; in vain she reminded him of his 
unwillingness at the time, and his having been in a manner com 
pelled to it by his French associates; nothing hat she did say 
could assuage his sorrow or quiet the perturbation of his mind ; 
he called himself a wretch, a monster, a coward (the proud feel 
ings of an Indian must be well understood to judge of the force 
of this self-accusation), and to the moment of his death the re 
membrance of this fatal act preyed like a canker worm upon his 
spirits. I ought to add, that from the time of his conversion, he 
lived the life of a Christian, and died as such. 

The Indians are cruel to their enemies ! In some cases they 
are, but perhaps not more so than white men have sometimes 
shewn themselves. There have been instances of white men 
flaying or taking off the skin of Indians who had fallen into their 
hands, then tanning those skins, or cutting them in pieces, 
making them up into razor-straps, and exposing those for sale, 
as was done at or near Pittsburg sometime during the Revolu 
tionary war. Those things are abominations in the eyes of the 

1 [The valley of the Conecocheague, which stream drains Franklin County, Penn 
sylvania, was explored and settled about 1730 by Scotch-Irish pioneers, among 
whom were three brothers of the name of Chambers. The site of Chambersburg was 
built on by Joseph Chambers. The Conecocheague settlement suffered much from 
the Indians after Braddock s defeat in 1755.] 


Indians, who, indeed, when strongly excited, inflict torments on 
their prisoners and put them to death by cruel tortures, but 
never are guilty of acts of barbarity in cold blood. Neither 
do the Delawares and some other Indian nations, ever on any 
account disturb the ashes of the dead. 

The custom of torturing prisoners is of ancient date, and was 
first introduced as a trial of courage. I have been told, however, 
that among some tribes it has never been in use ; but it must be 
added that those tribes gave no quarter. The Delawares accuse 
the Iroquois of having been the inventors of this piece of cruelty, 
and charge them further with eating the flesh of their prisoners 
after the torture was over. Be this as it may, there are now but 
few instances of prisoners being put to death in this manner. 

Rare as these barbarous executions now are, I have reason to 
believe that they would be still less frequent, if proper pains 
were taken to turn the Indians away from this heathenish cus 
tom. Instead of this, it is but too true that they have been 
excited to cruelty by unprincipled white men, who have joined 
in their war-feasts, and even added to the barbarity of the scene. 
Can there be a more brutal act than, after furnishing those sava 
ges, as they are called, with implements of war and destruction, 
to give them an ox to kill and to roast whole, to dance the war 
dance with them round the slaughtered animal, strike at him, 
stab him, telling the Indians at the same time : " Strike, stab ! 
Thus you must do to your enemy ! " Then taking a piece of the 
meat, and tearing it with their teeth : " So you must eat his 
flesh!" and sucking up the juices: "Thus you must drink his 
blood ! " and at last devour the whole as wolves do a carcass. 
This is what is known to have been done by some of those 
Indian agents that I have mentioned. 

"Is this possible?" the reader will naturally exclaim. Yes, it 
is possible, and every Indian warrior will tell you that it is true. 
It has come to me from so many credible sources, that I am 
forced to believe it. How can the Indians now be reproached 
with acts of cruelty to which they have been excited by those 
who pretended to be Christians and civilised men, but who were 
worse savages than those whom, no doubt, they were ready to 
brand with that name? 


When hostile governments give directions to employ the 
Indians against their enemies, they surely do not know that 
such is the manner in which their orders are to be executed ; 
but let me tell them and every government who will descend to 
employing these auxiliaries, that this is the only way in which 
their subaltern agents will and can proceed to make their aid 
effectual. The Indians are not fond of interfering in quarrels 
not their own, and will not fight with spirit for the mere sake of 
a livelihood which they can obtain in a more agreeable manner 
by hunting and their other ordinary occupations. Their passions 
must be excited, and that is not easily done when they them 
selves have not received any injury from those against whom 
they are desired to fight. Behold, then, the abominable course 
which must unavoidably be resorted to to induce them to do 
what ? to lay waste the dwelling of the peaceable cultivator of 
the land, and to murder his innocent wife and his helpless chil 
dren ! I cannot pursue this subject farther, although I am far 
from having exhausted it. I have said enough to enable the 
impartial reader to decide which of the two classes of men, the 
Indians and the whites, are most justly entitled to the epithets 
of brutes, barbarians, and savages. It is not for me to anticipate 
his decision. 

But if the Indians, after all, are really those horrid monsters 
which they are alleged to be, two solemn, serious questions have 
often occurred to my mind, to which I wish the partisans of that 
doctrine would give equally serious answers. 

1. Can civilised nations, can nations which profess Christianity, 
be justified in employing people of that description to aid them 
in fighting their battles against their enemies, Christians like 
themselves ? 

2. When such nations offer up their prayers to the throne of 
the most High, supplicating the Divine Majesty to grant success 
to their arms, can they, ought they to expect that those prayers 
will be heard? 

I have done. Let me only be permitted, in conclusion, to 
express my firm belief, the result of much attentive observation 
and long experience while living among the Indians, that if we 
would only observe towards them the first and most important 


precept of our holy religion, " to do to others as we would be 
done to ; " if, instead of employing them to fight our battles, we 
encouraged them to remain at peace with us and with each 
other, they might easily be brought to a state of civilisation, 
and become CHRISTIANS. 

I still indulge the hope that this work will be accomplished 
by a wise and benevolent government. Thus we shall demon 
strate the falsity of the prediction of the Indian prophets, who 
say : " That when the whites shall have ceased killing the red 
men, and got all their lands from them, the great tortoise which 
bears this island upon his back, shall dive down into the deep 
and drown them all, as he once did before, a great many years 
ago ; and that when he again rises, the Indians shall once more 
be put in possession of the whole country." 


HAVE thus finished the work which was required 
of me by the Historical Committee of the American 
Philosophical Society. On reading over the printed 
sheets which have been kindly sent to me from Phila 
delphia, as they issued from the press, I have noticed several 
errors, some of which may be ascribed to me, others to the trans 
criber of the manuscript, and very few to the printer. I regret 
that there are among them some mistakes in dates and names 
of places ; they are all rectified in the errata. 

I am very sensible of the many defects of this little work in 
point of method, arrangement, composition and style. I am not 
an author by profession ; the greatest part of my life was spent 
among savage nations, and I have now reached the age of 
seventy-five, at which period of life little improvement can be 
expected. It is not, therefore, as an author that I wish to be 
judged, but as a sincere relator of facts that have fallen within 
my observation and knowledge. I declare that I have said 
nothing but what I certainly know or verily believe. In matters 
of mere opinion, I may be contradicted ; but in points of fact I 
have been even scrupulous, and purposely omitted several anec 
dotes for which I could not sufficiently vouch. In my descrip 
tions of character, I may have been an unskilful painter, and ill 
chosen expressions may imperfectly have sketched out the 
images that are imprinted on my mind ; but the fault is in the 
writer, not in the man. 

It is with pleasure that I inform the reader that the parts of 



Mr. Zeisberger s Iroquois Dictionary which I have mentioned 
above, (pages 97, 118,) as being irretrievably lost, have most 
fortunately been found since this work is in the press. The book 
has been neatly bound in seven quarto volumes, and will remain 
a monument of the richness and comprehensiveness of the lan 
guages of the Indian nations. Several valuable grammatical 
works on the same language, by the same author and Mr. Pyr- 
laeus, have been recovered at the same time, by means of which, 
the idiom of the Six Nations may now be scientifically studied. 

When I spoke (p. 136) of the impression made by Captain 
Pipe s speech " on all present," I meant only on those who 
understood the language; for there were many who did not, 
and M. Baby, the Canadian interpreter, did not explain to the 
bystanders the most striking passages, but went now and then 
to the Commandant and whispered in his ear. Captain Pipe, 
while he spoke, was exceedingly animated, and twice advanced 
so near to the Commandant, that M. Baby ordered him to fall 
back to his place. All who were present must have at least 
suspected that his speech was not one of the ordinary kind, and 
that everything was not as they might suppose it ought to be. 

I promised in my introduction (p. xxvi.) to subjoin an explana 
tory list of the Indian nations which I have mentioned in the 
course of this work, but I find that I have been so full on the 
subject that such a list is unnecessary. 

I have classed the Florida Indians together in respect of lan 
guage, on the supposition that they all speak dialects of the same 
mother tongue ; the fact, however, may be otherwise, though it 
will be extraordinary that there should be several languages 
entirely different from each other in the narrow strip of land 
between the Carolinas and the Mississippi, when there are but 
two principal ones in the rest of the United States. It is to be 
expected that the researches of the Historical Committee will 
throw light upon this subject. 


PAGE 26, LINE 5 Between the words "if" and "what" insert "we can credit" 

30, 15 For "declaring at the same time" read" a nd declared after 


31, 8 For Mohicans" read "Lenape" 

67, 14 For " 1742" read " and November 1756." 

72, 12 Dele " in which" 

77, 17 For "Delawares" read "Mohicans" 

80, 18 For " 1787" read " 1781." 

81, 5 For "us" read "them" 

84, 12 For " Mousey s " read " Monseys. 

23 Beginning a paragraph, for " 1768, about six" read " 1772, a 

85, 29 Of third note, for "Shawanachau " read "Shawanachan" 

90, 13 For "Shawanos" read "Nanticokes" 

91, 13 For " schscheqtwn read " shechschequon." 

92, 29 and 30 For " 7*awachgudno " read " Tayachguano" 
no, 12 For "once" read "sometimes." 

Ill, 8 For " should " read " deserved to" 

10 For"/0" read " out at." 

12 Dele " outside of the door and" 

1 18, 15 For " Thornhallesen " read " Thorhallesen." 

122, 10 Of the first note, for "/. 3" read "/. 5." 

130, 8 For "or" read "nor." 

131, 22 For "met" read "saw" 
25 For "days" read "hours" 

T 33> 5 For "December" read "November." 

140, 10 Of No. 43, for "with" read "<?/"." 

143, 34 For "they" read "//$<? Chippeways and some other nations" 

146, 17 For "your" read ll yon." 

1 50, 4 After the word " nation " insert " which they do not approve of" 

r 53> 3 1 For "they sure 1 1 read "they are sure" 

160, 32 For " reply " read " answer." 

1 64, 26 For decide read " say" 

28 For " man " read " men." 

1 66, 2 Between " is " and " even " insert " sometimes." 
22 For " an old Indian " read " several old men." 

167, II and 13 For "road" read "course." 
1 74, 18 For " where " read " whence" 

I 7 8 > 33 For "Diike Holland" read "Luke Holland; " the same where 

the name again occurs. 
2OI, 5 T^Q\e " again." 

216, 29 For "very often" read "sometimes" 

217, 2 For " inches " read "feet." 

218, 14 For "of" read "<?." 

2 43> 3 For "Americans" read "white men" 

250, 9 For " killed : read " eaten." 

2 53 37 For "Pauk-sit " read "P duk-sit." 

263, 14 Dele " lands or." 

2 7&> 35 For "Albany " read "Pittsburgh." 

283, 31 For "Sandusky" read "Muskingum." 

293, 26 For " bought" read " brought." 

313, 23 For "//& " read " us." 











Languages of the American Indians. 


THE following Correspondence between Mr. Heckewelder and Peter S. Du Pon 
ceau, Esq., Corresponding Secretary of the Historical and Literary Committee of the 
American Philosophical Society, and subsequently, till his death in 1844, President 
of that Society, is appended as a fitting sequel to the preceding Account. 


|HE Historical and Literary Committee of the American 
Philosophical Society, desirous of taking the most 
effectual means to promote the objects of their insti 
tution, directed their corresponding secretary to ad 
dress letters in their name to such persons in the United States 
as had turned their attention to similar objects, and solicit their 

Among other well-informed individuals, the Reverend Mr. 
Heckewelder of Bethlehem was pointed out by. the late Dr. Cas 
par Wistar, President o ; the Society, and one of the most active 
and useful members of the Committee, as a gentleman whose 
intimate knowledge of the American Indians, their usages, man 
ners and languages, enabled him to afford much important aid 
to their labours. In consequence of this suggestion, the secre 
tary wrote to Mr. Heckewelder the letter No. I, and Dr. Wistar 
seconded his application by the letter No. 2. The languages of 
the Indians were not at that time particularly in the view of the 
Committee; the manners and customs of those nations were the 
principal subjects on which they wished and expected to receive 
information. But Mr. Heckewelder having with his letter No. 4, 
sent them the MS. of Mr. Zeisberger s Grammar of the Delaware 
Language, that communication had the effect of directing their 
attention to this interesting subject. 

This MS. being written in German, was not intelligible to the 
greatest number of the members. Two of them, the Reverend 
Dr. Nicholas Collin, and the corresponding secretary, were par- 


ticularly anxious to be honoured with the task of translating it ; 
but the secretary having claimed this labour as part of his official 
duty, it was adjudged to him. While he was translating that 
work, he was struck with the beauty of the grammatical forms 
of the Lenape idiom, which led him to ask through Dr. Wistar 
some questions of Mr. Heckewelder, 1 which occurred to him as 
he was pursuing his labours, and produced the correspondence 
now published, which was carried on by the direction and under 
the sanction of the Committee. 

The letters which passed at the beginning between Dr. Wistar 
and Mr. Zeisberger, 2 and are here published in their regular 
order, do not, it is true, form a necessary part of this collection ; 
but it will be perceived, that to the two letters of Dr. Wistar, 
Nos. 2 and 6, we are indebted for the valuable Historical Ac 
count of the Indians, which forms the first number of this volume. 
It is just that he should have the credit due to his active and 
zealous exertions. 

It was intended that Mr. Zeisberger s Grammar should have 
immediately followed this Correspondence, which was considered 
as introductory to it. But it being now evident that it would 
increase too much the size of the volume, its publication is for 
the present postponed. 

1 Letter V. 2 For "Zeisberger" read "Heckewelder." 





PHILADELPHIA, gih January, 1816. 

SIR. As corresponding secretary to the Historical Com 
mittee of the American Philosophical Society, it is my duty to 
solicit the aid of men of learning and information, by the help 
of whose knowledge light may be thrown on the yet obscure 
history of the early times of the colonization of this country, and 
particularly of this State. Our much-respected President and 
common friend, Dr. Wistar, has often spoken to me of the great 
knowledge which you possess respecting the Indians who once 
inhabited these parts, and of your intimate acquaintance with 
their languages, habits and history. He had promised me, when 
you was last here, to do me the favour of introducing me to you, 
but the bad state of his health and other circumstances prevented 
it, which has been and still is to me the cause of much regret. 
Permit me, sir, on the strength of his recommendation, and the 
assurance he has given me that I might rely on your zeal and 
patriotic feelings, to request, in the name of the Historical Com 
mittee, that you will be so good as to aid their labours by occa 
sional communications on the various subjects that are familiar 
to you and which relate to the early history of this country. 
Accounts of the various nations of Indians which have at differ 
ent times inhabited Pennsylvania, their numbers, origin, migra- 
23 353 


tions, connexions with each other, the parts which they took in 
the English and French wars and in the Revolutionary war, 
their manners, customs, languages, and religion, will be very 
acceptable, as well as every thing which you may conceive inter 
esting, on a subject which at no distant period will be involved 
in obscurity and doubt, for want of the proper information having 
been given in time by those cotemporaries who now possess the 
requisite knowledge and are still able to communicate it. I hope, 
sir, that you will be able to find some moments of leisure to 
comply, at least in part, with this request, which you may do in 
any form that you may think proper. If that of occasional let 
ters to Dr. Wistar or myself should be the most agreeable or 
convenient to you, you may adopt it, or any other mode that you 
may prefer. I beg you will favour me with an answer as soon 
as possible, that I may be able to inform the Committee of what 
they may expect from you. You may be assured that all your 
communications will be respectfully and thankfully received. 

I am, very respectfully, Sir, 
Your most obedient humble servant, 

Corresponding Secretary. 



PHILADELPHIA, Qth January, 1816. 

MY DEAR SIR. Inclosed is a letter from the corresponding 
secretary of the Historical Committee of our Society, which 
will inform you of our wishes to preserve from oblivion, and to 
make public, all the interesting information we can procure re 
specting the history of our country and its original inhabitants. 
I believe there is no other person now living who knows so 
much respecting the Indians who inhabited this part of America, 
as you do, and there is no one whose relations will be received 
with more confidence. 


I hope you will approve of this method of favouring the pub 
lic with your information, and we will endeavour to give you no 
trouble in publishing after you have favoured us with the com 
munications. It will be particularly agreeable to the society to 
receive from you an account of the Lenni Lenape, as they were 
at the time when the settlement of Pennsylvania commenced, 
and of their history and misfortunes since that time; as these 
subjects are so intimately connected with the history of our 
State. The history of the Shawanese, and of the Six Nations 
will be very interesting to us for the same reason. But every 
thing which throws light upon the nature of the Indians, their 
manners and customs ; their opinions upon all interesting sub 
jects, especially religion and government ; their agriculture and 
modes of procuring subsistence ; their treatment of their wives 
and children; their social intercourse with each other; and in 
short, every thing relating to them which is interesting to you, 
will be very instructing to the Society. A fair view of the mind 
and natural disposition of the savage, and its difference from that 
of the civilised man, would be an acceptable present to the world. 

You have long been a member of the Society; may we ask of 
you to communicate to us what you know and think ought to be 
published, respecting the wild animals, or the native plants of 
our country. The original object of our association was to 
bring together gentlemen like yourself, who have a great deal 
of information in which the public take an interest, that they 
might publish it together ; and while an intercourse with you 
will give us all great pleasure, it will perhaps be a very easy 
way for you to oblige the world with your knowledge, as we 
will take the whole care of the publication. The information 
respecting our country which has been obtained by the very 
respectable Brethren of Bethlehem, and is contained in their 
archives, will, I believe, be more perfectly offered to the world 
by you at present, than probably it ever will afterwards by 
others ; I therefore feel very desirous that you should engage 
in it. 

The facts which Mr. Pyrlseus recorded there, relative to the 
confederation of the Six Nations, are so interesting that they 
ought to be made public. 


In a few days after my return to Philadelphia, last autumn, I 
presented in your name to the Society the several books with 
which you favoured me. They were much gratified, for they 
considered them as truly valuable, and the secretary was re 
quested to acknowledge the receipt of them, and to thank you 
in the name of the Society. I have constantly regretted the 
attack of influenza which deprived me of the pleasure of seeing 
more of you while you were last in Philadelphia. But I hope we 
shall meet again before a great while, and I shall be sincerely 
pleased if I can execute any of your commissions here, or serve 
you in any way ; my brother joins me in assuring you of our 
best wishes, and of the pleasure we derived from your society. 
With these I remain, your sincere friend, 




BETHLEHEM, 24th March, 1816. 

MY DEAR SIR. Last evening I was favoured with a letter 
from you, covering one from the corresponding secretary of the 
Historical Committee of the American Philosophical Society, 
dated pth January, and a book, for which I return my best 
thanks. If an apology for not having written to you since I left 
Philadelphia can be admitted, it must be that of my having been 
engaged in all my leisure hours, in completing my narrative of 
the Mission, a work of which, even if it is never published, I wished 
for good reasons, to leave a manuscript copy. I have now got 
through with the principal part, but have to copy the whole text, 
and in part to write the notes, remarks, and anecdotes which are 
intended for the appendix. While writing, it has sometimes 
struck me, that there might probably be some interesting pas 
sages in the work, as the speeches of Indians on various occa 
sions ; their artful and cunning ways of doing at times business; 
I had almost said their diplomatic manoeuvres as politicians; 
their addresses on different occasions to the Great Spirit, &c., 


which are here noticed in their proper places. I think much of 
the true character of the Indian may be met with in perusing 
this work, and I will endeavour to forward the narrative to you 
and your brother for perusal, after a little while. 

Were I still in the possession of all the manuscripts which I 
gave to my friend the late Dr. Barton, it would be an easy mat 
ter for me to gratify you and the Philosophical Society in their 
wishes, but having retained scarcely any, or but very few copies 
of what I sent him, I am not so able to do what I otherwise 
would with pleasure ; I shall, however, make it my study to do 
what I can yet, though I am aware that I shall in some points, 
differ from what others have said and written. I never was one 
of those hasty believers and writers, who take the shadow for 
the substance : what I wished to know, I always wished to 
know correctly. 

I approve of the mode proposed by the secretary of the His 
torical Committee, to make communications in the form of let 
ters, which is for me the easiest and quickest mode. In the same 
way Dr. Barton received much interesting matter from me 
within the last 20 or 30 years. He often told me that he would 
publish a book, and make proper use of my communications. 
Had he not told me this so repeatedly, I should long since have 
tried to correct many gross errors, written and published, re 
specting the character and customs of the Indians. The Lenni 
Lenape, improperly called the Delawares, I shall, according to 
their tradition, trace across the Mississippi into this country, set 
forth what people they were, what parts of the country they 
inhabited, and how they were brought down to such a low 
state : perhaps, never did man take the pains that I did for 
years, to learn the true causes of the decline of that great and 
powerful nation. 

The Grammar of the language of the Lenni Lenape, written 
by David Zeisberger, is still in my hands. By his will it is to be 
deposited in the Brethren s Archives in Bethlehem, but he has 
not prohibited taking a copy of it. Will it be of any service to 
the Society that it should be sent down for a few months for 
perusal, or if thought necessary, to take a copy ? If so, please 
to let me know, and I shall send it with pleasure. It is, how- 


ever, German and Indian, and without a translation will be 
understood but by few. I may perhaps find other documents 
interesting to the Society, as for example, copies of letters on 
Indian business and treaties, of which many are in the posses 
sion of Joseph Horsfield, Esq., son of the late Timothy Horsfield, 
through whom they have come into his hands, and who is willing 
to communicate them. 1 I am, dear friend, 

Yours sincerely, 


P. S. Will you be so good as with my respects to mention to 
the secretary that I have received his letter, and shall shortly 
answer it my best wishes also to your brother Richard, whom 
I highly esteem. J. H. 



BETHLEHEM, 3d April, 1816. 

MY DEAR FRIEND. With Captain Mann, of your city, I send 
David Zeisberger s Grammar of the Language of the Lenni 
Lenape, (otherwise called the Delaware Indians.) As the book 
is not mine, but left by will, to be placed in the Library at Beth 
lehem, I can do no more than send it for perusal ; or, if wished 
for, to have a copy taken from it, which, indeed, I myself would 
cheerfully have done for you, were it not that I must spare my 
weak eyes as much as possible. 

I believe I have closed my last letter to you, without answer 
ing to the question you put to me, respecting, "wild animals 
and the native* plants of our country." On this head I do not 
know that I could be of any service, since the animals that were 
in this country on the arrival of the Europeans must be pretty 
generally known ; and respecting the native plants, I do not 
consider myself qualified to give any information, as all I have 

1 These papers have been communicated. 


attended to, has been to collect plants for botanists, leaving it 
to them to examine and class them. But my friend Dr. Kamp- 
man of this place, who is, I believe, one of the most attentive 
gentlemen to botany, has promised me for you a copy of the 
botanical names of those plants which he, and a few others of 
his friends, have collected, within a great number of years, in 
the Forks of Delaware, with some few from New Jersey, to the 
number (he thinks) of about five hundred ; all of which plants 
are in nature carefully laid up by him. Probably in two or three 
weeks, I shall have the pleasure of transmitting to you this prom 
ised catalogue. I am, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, I4th May, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. When you write to your friend Mr. Heckewelder, 
I beg you will request him to answer the following questions : 

1. What name did the French give to the Delaware nation? 

2. I find in Zeisberger s Vocabulary, page 1 1, that Gischuch 
means the sun. In the Grammar, I see that the Delawares divide 
their year by moons, and call them anixi gischuch, &c. So that 
gischuch signifies moon as well as sun, how is it ? 

3. I find in the Grammar that the pronoun nekama or neka 
means he, but it does not appear to have any feminine. What 
is the proper word for she in the Delaware, and how is it declined ? 

I am, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, May 2ist, 1816. 

MY DEAR FRIEND. I am much obliged by your kind letters, 
which are very interesting, and will, I hope, obtain from 1 us 

1 For "from " read "for" 


some of the valuable information which has been left unpub 
lished by our ingenious colleague the late Dr. Barton. The 
Grammar of your venerable friend, Zeisberger, is regarded by 
Mr. Duponceau as a treasure. He thinks the inflections of the 
Indian verbs so remarkable that they will attract the general 
attention of the literati. Inclosed is a letter from him, by 
which he expects to open a correspondence with you on the 
subject. I will be much obliged by your writing to him as 
soon as your convenience will permit. 

We expect soon to have materials for publishing a volume of 
Historical Documents, and I have proposed that we shall prefix 
to those which relate to Pennsylvania, all the information we 
can collect respecting the Indians who were here before our 
ancestors. The Committee agree that this will be the proper 
method, and my dependence for authentic information is on 
you ; as I have never met with any person who had any knowl 
edge to compare with yours, respecting the poor Indians. I 
was delighted to find that your enquiries have been directed to 
the history of the Lenni Lenape before they settled in Pennsyl 
vania. The removal of the Indian tribes from our country to 
another is a very interesting subject. If you can tell us where 
they came from and what forced them away; who were here 
before them, and what induced their predecessors to make war 
for them, we shall be much obliged to you. There is no book 
I shall read with more pleasure than yours. 

The causes of their downfall, I believe, are well known to you, 
and will of course have a place. The manner in which they 
were treated by the Six Nations, after their conquest, will be 
an interesting article, as it will shew the Indian policy. An 
account of the political rights which were still allowed them, 
and, in short, of everything which is connected with their con 
quest, will add to the interest of the work. As occupants of 
Pennsylvania before the whites, ought not the Shawanese and 
the Six Nations also to be described ? 

I have been told that the Shawanese were more refined than 
any other Indians in this part of America, and that the place 
where Chilicothe now stands, was the seat of Indian civilisation. 

I have the pleasure of forwarding to you an instructing work 
by Dr. Drake, a physician at Cincinnati, which he sends you. 


He also sends a small package and a letter to Mr. Steinhauer. 

I send them by a wagon which goes from Mr. Boiling s, but 
I am not without some expectation of paying another visit to 
Bethlehem very soon, where it will be a great gratification to 
meet with my friend. Affectionately yours, 




BETHLEHEM, 27th May, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I was this morning favoured with a letter from 
my friend Dr. Wistar, inclosing some questions which you wish 
me to answer. I lose no time in complying with your desire. 

Your first question is, " what name the French did give to the 
Delaware nation ? " 

I believe the Baron de La Hontan meant them when he spoke 
of the Algonkins, whom he describes as a people whose lan 
guage was understood by many nations or tribes. So is certainly 
that of the Delawares. 

While I was residing on the Muskingum, between the years 
1773 and 1781, I cannot precisely remember the year, there 
came a French gentleman who was travelling on some business 
among the different Indian tribes, and could speak more or less 
of several Indian languages, among which was that of the Dela 
wares. I had much conversation with him respecting the In 
dians, and observed that he called the Delawares les Lenopes, (a 
word evidently derived from their real name Lenni Lenape^) He 
told me that the language of that nation had a wide range, and 
that by the help of it, he had travelled more than a thousand 
miles among different Indian nations, by all of whom he was 
understood. He added, that the Baron La Hontan, when speak 
ing of the Algonkins, must either have alluded to that nation, or 
to some one descended from them. In other instances, in the 
course of the four years that I resided in Upper Canada, I gen 
erally heard the French Canadians call them Lenope, while the 


English called them Delawares. Nevertheless, I do not doubt 
but that they have been called by different names by the French 
and other travellers, and if my memory serves me, some of the 
French people called them les Loups y a name probably derived 
from one of their tribes called the Wolf, if it is not a corruption 
of Lenape or Lenope. 

Your next question is, " whether the Delaware word gischttch, 
signifies the sun or moon, or both together ? " The Indian name 
" gischuch" is common to " the two great luminaries which send 
down light from above." The moon is called " nipawi gischuch" 
as it were " the sun which gives light in the night." It is also 
called in one word " nipahum" " Gischuch" singly, is often used 
for the moon ; the Indian year is divided into thirteen lunar 
months, and in this sense, the word "gischuch" is used; as for 
instance, " schawandki 1 gischuch" or, in the Minsi or Monsey 
dialect, " chwani 2 gischuch" the shad moon, answering to the 
month which we call March, at which time the fish called " shad " 
passes from the sea into the fresh water rivers. The inferior 
" stars " have a different name ; they are called in the singular 
alank ; plural, alankewak, and by contraction, alanqnak. 

Lastly, you ask whether the Delawares have a word answer 
ing to the English personal pronoun " she" and what it is ? I 
beg leave to answer you somewhat in detail. 

In the Indian languages, those discriminating words or inflec 
tions which we call genders, are not, as with us, in general, in 
tended to distinguish between male and female beings, but be 
tween animate and inanimate things or substances. Trees and 
plants (annual plants and grasses excepted) are included within 
the generic class of animated beings. Hence the personal pro 
noun has only two modes, if I can so express myself, one ap 
plicable to the animate, and the other to the inanimate gender; 
" nekama " is the personal pronominal form which answers to 
" he " and " she " in English. If you wish to distinguish between 
the sexes, you must add to it the word " man " or " woman." 
Thus " nekama lenno" means " he " or "this man;" "nekama 

1 For " scha -wandki " read "schwanameki" 
2 For " chivani" read " chwami." 


ochqueu" " she " or " this woman" This may appear strange to 
a person exclusively accustomed to our forms of speech, but I 
assure you that the Indians have no difficulty in understanding 
each other. 

Nor must you imagine that their languages are poor. See 
how the Delaware idiom discriminates between the different ages 
of man and woman ! 

LENNO, a man. 

Wuskilenno, a young man. 

Pilapeu, a lad. 

Pilawesis, or pilawetzitsch, a boy. 

Pilawetit, a male infant babe. 

Kigeyilenno, an aged man. 

Mihilusis, an old man, worn out with age. 

OCHQUEU, a woman. 

Wusdochqueu, a young woman, a virgin. 

Ochquetschitsch, a girl. 

Quetit, a female infant babe. 

Gichtochqueu, an aged woman. 

Chauchschisis, a very old woman. 

Note " len" or " lenno" in the male, and " que" or " queu" in 
the female, distinguish the sexes in compound words; some 
times the L alone denotes the male sex, as in "pi/apeu," " mihi- 
/usis," &c. 

The males of quadrupeds are called " lenno weclium" and by 
contraction " lennochum ; " the females "Ochque wechum" and by 
contraction " ochquechum" which is the same as saying he or 
she beasts. With the winged tribe, their generic denomination 
"wehelle" is added to the word which expresses the sex; thus, 
" lenno wehelle " for the male, and " ochquechelle " (with a little 
contraction) for the female. There are some animals the females 
of which have a particular distinguishing name, as " Nunschetto " 
a doe, " Nunscheach " a she bear. This, however, is not common. 

Thus I have endeavoured to answer your questions, and I 
hope, have done it to your satisfaction. I shall always be will 
ing and ready to give you any further information that you or 
the Philosophical Society may require ; I mean, always to the 
best of my knowledge and abilities. I am, &c. 




PHILADELPHIA, loth June, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. Your favour of the 2/th ult. has done me the 
greatest pleasure. I am very thankful for the goodness you have 
had to answer the questions which I took the liberty of putting 
to you through our common friend Dr. Wistar. I shall not fail 
to avail myself of your kind offer to answer such further ques 
tions as I may ask, as in so doing I shall fulfil a duty which the 
Historical Committee of the Philosophical Society has imposed 
upon me, and at the same time I am satisfied that I shall derive 
a great deal of pleasure to myself. But I must acknowledge that 
I am entirely ignorant of the subject on which I have been 
directed to obtain information from you, so much so that I am 
even at a loss what questions to ask. As I have, however, un 
dertaken the task, I must endeavour to go through it as well as 
I can, and rely on the instruction which I shall receive from 
your letters, to point out to me further enquiries. I am for 
tunately employed in translating the late Mr. Zeisberger s Gram 
mar of the Lenni Lenape, which will lead me a little into the 
right path, and I read at the same time such books as I can find 
in our scanty libraries respecting the languages of the American 
Indians. This study pleases me much, as I think I perceive 
many beauties in those idioms, but the true enjoyment of those 
beauties is, I presume, only accessible to those to whom the 
languages are familiar. 

From what I have above stated, you will easily perceive that 
my questions to you must necessarily be desultory, and without 
any regular order or method. But you will diffuse light through 
this chaos, and every thing at last will find its proper place. 

I cannot express to you how delighted I am with the gram 
matical forms of the Indian languages, particularly of the Dela 
ware, as explained by Mr. Zeisberger. I am inclined to believe 
that those forms are peculiar to this part of the world, and that 
they do not exist in the languages of the old hemisphere. At 


least, I am confident that their development will contribute much 
to the improvement of the science of universal grammar. About 
fifty years ago, two eminent French philosophers published each 
a short treatise on the origin of language. One of them was 
the celebrated mathematician Maupertuis, and the other M. 
Turgot, who afterwards was made a minister of state, and ac 
quired considerable reputation by his endeavours to introduce 
reform into the administration of the government of his own 
country. M. Maupertuis, in his Essay, took great pains to shew 
the necessity of studying the languages even of the most distant 
and barbarous nations, " because," said he, " we may chance to 
find some that are formed on new plans of ideas M. Turgot, 
instead of acknowledging the justness of this profound remark, 
affected to turn it into ridicule, and said he could not understand 
what was meant by "plans of ideas If he had been acquainted 
with the Delaware language, he would have been at no loss to 
comprehend it. 

I presume that by this expression M. Maupertuis meant the 
various modes in which ideas are combined and associated 
together in the form of words and sentences, and in this sense 
it is to me perfectly intelligible. The associations expressed by 
words must be first formed in the mind, and the words shew in 
what order of succession the ideas were conceived, and in what 
various groups they arranged themselves before utterance was 
given to them. The variety of those groups which exist in the 
different languages forms what M. Maupertuis meant by " plans 
of ideas," and indeed, this variety exists even in one and the same 
language. Thus when we say, " lover," and " he who loves," 
the same group of ideas is differently combined, and of course, 
differently expressed, and it may well be said that those ideas 
are arranged " on different plans." 

This difference is strongly exemplified in the Delaware lan 
guage ; I shall only speak at present of what we call the " de 
clension of nouns." What in our European idioms we call the 
" objective cases" are one or more words expressive of two prom 
inent ideas, that of the object spoken of, and that of the manner 
in which it is affected by some other object or action operating 
upon it. This is done in two ways ; by inflecting the substan- 


tive, or by affixing to it one or more of those auxiliary words 
which we call " prepositions." Thus when we say in English 
" of Peter" and in German " Peters" the same two principal 
ideas are expressed in the former language by two words and 
in the latter by one, and the termination or inflexion s in Ger 
man conveys the same meaning as the preposition " of" in Eng 
lish. It is clear that these two ideas, before they were uttered 
in the form of words, were grouped in the minds both of the 
German and the Englishman ; in the one, as it were at once, and 
in the other successively : for it is natural to suppose that they 
were conceived as they are expressed. Again, when you say in 
Latin amo Petrum, (I love Peter,) the termination inn is expres 
sive of the action of the verb love, upon the object, Peter. In 
the English and German this accessory idea is not expressed by 
sound, but still it exists in the mind. In every language there 
are more ideas, perhaps, understood, than are actually expressed. 
This might be easily demonstrated, if it were here the place. 

Let us now consider how the same ideas are combined and 
expressed in the Delaware language, according to Mr. Zeisber- 
ger. When the accessory idea which we call "case" proceeds 
from the operation of a verb upon a noun or word significant of 
an object, that idea is not affixed as with us to the noun but to 
the verb, or in other words, it is not the noun but the verb that is 
declined by inflexions or cases. Thus when you say "getannito- 
wit riquitayala, I fear God ; " the first word, getannitowit, which 
is the substantive, is expressed, as we should say, in the nomina 
tive case, while the termination of the verb yala, expresses its 
application to the object. It is precisely the same as if in Latin, 
instead of saying, Petrum amo, I love Peter, we carried the termi 
nation um to the verb, and said Petrus amiim. Does not this 
shew that many various combinations of ideas may take place 
in the human mind, of which we, Europeans by birth or descent^ 
have not yet formed a conception ? Does this not bid defiance 
to our rules or canons of universal grammar, and may we not 
say with M. Maupertuis, that in extending our study of the lan 
guages of man, we shall probably find some formed upon "plans 
of ideas " different from our own ? 

But I perceive that instead of asking you questions, as it is my 


duty to do, I am losing myself in metaphysical disquisitions ; I 
return, then, to my principal object. A very interesting German 
book has lately fallen into my hands. It is entitled " Untersuch- 
ungen ueber Amerikas Bevcelkerung aus dem alien Kontincntc" J and 
it is written by Professor Vater, of Leipzig. The author, after 
justly observing that the language of the Delawares is exceed 
ingly rich in grammatical forms, and making the same observa 
tion on that of the Naticks, from the venerable Eliot s transla 
tion of the Bible into that idiom, says that, on the contrary, that 
of the Chippeways is very poor in that respect. " Die CJiippe- 
w&er" he says, " Jiabcn fast keine formen" 2 This appears to me 
very strange, because on examining the various Indian lan 
guages from Nova Scotia to Chili, I have been surprised to find 
that they appear all formed on the same model, and if Professor 
Vater is correct, the Chippeway dialect will form an exception. 
I beg, therefore, you will inform me whether there is such a 
great difference as he states between that and the Delaware. I 
am much inclined to think that the learned Professor is mistaken. 
I must take this opportunity, however, to express my astonish 
ment at the great knowledge which the literati of Germany 
appear to possess of America, and of the customs, manners and 
languages of its original inhabitants. Strange ! that we should 
have to go to the German universities to become acquainted 
with our own country. 

Another German Professor, of the name of Rudiger, has com 
piled an interesting work, in which he gives specimens of all 
the languages in the world, as far as they are known, and among 
them does not forget those of the Indian nations of America. 
He gives the numerals of the Delaware language, from a vocab 
ulary of that idiom, printed at Stockholm, in 1696, and made 
while the Swedes were in possession of that part of this country 
which they principally inhabited. I find a considerable difference 
between those numerals and these given by Zeisberger. That 
you may see in what it consists, I insert them both. 

1 An Enquiry into the Question, whether America was peopled from the Old Con 
tinent ? 

2 The Chippeways have hardly any grammatical forms. 



According to the Swedish Vocabulary. According to Zeisberger. 

1. Ciutte. I. Ngutti. 

2. Nissa. 2. Nischa. 

3. Naha. 3. Nacha. 

4. Nawo. 4. Newo. 

5. Pareenach. 5. Palenach. 

6. Ciuttas. 6. Guttasch. 

7. Nissas. 7. Nischasch. 

8. Haas. 8. Chasch. 

9. Paeschun. 9. Peschkonk. 
10. Thaeraen. 10. Tellen. 

20. Nissinacke. 20. Nishinachke. 

100. Ciutabpach. 100. Nguttapachki. 

Now, there can be no doubt that these two sets of numerals 
belong to the same language, but I am astonished at seeing the 
same words written so differently by a Swede and a German, 
when there is so little difference in the powers of the alphabeti 
cal signs of their languages. I am particularly struck with some 
words that are written with R by the Swede and with L by the 
German author. In all Zeisberger s Grammar I have not been 
able to find the letter R in one single Delaware word, neither is 
it to be found in any of the words of his Delaware spelling book. 
No doubt you can inform me of the reason of this difference. 

A greater one is still to be found in the Algonkin numerals 
given by the Baron La Hontan, and those of the Delaware 
proper. I place them here again in opposition to each other. 

Algonkin numerals from La Hontan. Delaware numerals from Zeisberger. 

1. Pegik. i. Ngutti. 

2. Ninch. 2. Nischa. 

3. Nissoue. 3. Nacha. 

4. Neou. 4. Newo. 

5. Narau. 5. Palenach. 

6. Ningoutouassou. 6. Guttasch. 

7. Ninchouassou. 7. Nischasch. 

8. Nissouassou. 8. Chasch. 

9. Changassou. 9. Peschkonk. 
10. Mitassou. IO. Tellen. 


There is certainly a family resemblance between some of 
these words, while in others no kind of similarity can be traced. 
As you believe that the Delawares and the Algonkins are the 
same people, I beg you will be so good as to point out to me 
the cause of the difference which I have observed. I am, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, 1 3th June, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I take the liberty of submitting to you a few 
questions, which have occurred to me in perusing Mr. Zeisber- 
ger s Grammar. I beg you will be so good as to answer them 
at your leisure. I am, &c. 


1. In Mr. Zeisberger s Grammar, double consonants are fre 
quently used, as in Pommaucksin, Lenno, Lenni Lenape. 

QU^RE : Are the two consonants fully and distinctly sounded, 
thus: pom-m-auchsin Len-n-o, as in the Italian language, or is 
only one of the consonants heard, as if it were thus written : 
pomauchsin, leno. In this latter case what is the reason for using 
two consonants, if only one is sounded ? 

2. Mr. Zeisberger frequently puts a comma or apostrophe ( ) 
before or after the letter N in the present of the indicative verbs, 
npommauchsi) and sometimes n pommauchsi. Sometimes he 
writes the word without : ndappiwi, ndappiwitsch ; what is 
the reason of this variation ? Is there any necessity for the 
comma before or after the TV^in the first person, or after the K 
and W, in the second and third ? Is it not best to simplify as 
much as possible the orthography of such a difficult language ? 

3. What is the difference in pronunciation between ke and 
que ; say, pomauchsijenke and pomauchsijeque ? Is the latter 
sounded like cue or kite, or is it sounded as ke ? 

4. The conjunctive mood is expressed in German by " wenn ; " 



does it mean in English "if" or " ivhen" ? Does "ripomauch- 
sijane" mean "when I live" or "if I live," or both? I find it 
sometimes expressed " wenn" oder " da" oder " als" which 
inclines me to think it signifies both " when " and " if" 

5. I find some terminations in the tenses of the verbs, some 
times written " cup" sometimes " kup" and sometimes " gup ;" 
thus epiacup, "where I was," elsijakup, "when or if I was so 
situated ; " and pommauchsijengup, " if or when we have lived." 
Are these different sounds, or does this difference in writing 
arise from the Germans being accustomed to confound the 
sounds of K and G hard ? 

6. I find some words written sometimes with one / and 
sometimes with two ; thus elsia, and elsija. Are the two z s 
separately articulated, or do they sound only as one ? 

7. I find the second person of the singular in verbs sometimes 
written with a K t sometimes with a G, thus kneichgussi, du wirst 
gesehen (thou art seen) ; kdaantschi, du wirst gehen (thou wilt 
go) ; gemilgussi, dir wird gegeben (it is given to thee). Why is 
it not written kemilgussif see query 5. I find sometimes a double 
aa Is it merely to express length of quantity, or are the two 
rt s sounded distinctly ? 

8. What is the difference in sound between ch and hh, do they 
both represent the same guttural sound like ch in German ? If 
so, why express this sound in two different ways ; if otherwise, 
what is the real difference between the two sounds ? 


A^pil, bleibe du (remain thou) ; sur^pk^tique, wenn sie nicht 
da sind (if they are not there) ; nda/j/zenap, wir waren gegangen 
(we had gone) ; kda/z//imo, ihr gehet (you go). I am, &c. 




BETHLEHEM, 2oth June, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. Your favors of the loth and I3th inst. have been 
duly received. I shall now endeavour to answer the first. The 
second shall in a few days be attended to. 

I am glad to find that you are so much pleased with the forms 
of our Indian languages. You will be still more so as you be 
come more familiar with the beautiful idiom of the Lenni Lenape. 
It is certain that many of those forms are not to be found either 
in the German or English ; how it is with the other languages 
of Europe, Asia, and Africa, I cannot say, not being acquainted 
with them, and never having made philology my particular 
study. I concur with you in the opinion that there must be in 
the world many different ways of connecting ideas together in 
the form of words, or what we call parts of speech, and that much 
philosophical information is to be obtained by the study of those 
varieties. What you observe with regard to the verbs being 
inflected in lieu of affixing a case or termination to the noun is 
very correct, but the ground or principle on which it is done, is 
not perhaps known to you. The verbs in the Indian languages 
are susceptible of a variety of forms, which are not to be found 
in any other language that I know. I do not mean to speak 
here of the positive, negative, causative, and a variety of other 
forms, but of those which Mr. Zeisberger calls personal, in which 
the two pronouns, governing and governed, are by means of 
affixes, suffixes, terminations, and inflections, included in the 
same word. Of this I shall give you an instance from the Dela 
ware language. I take the verb ahoalan, to love, belonging to 
the fifth of the eight conjugations, into which Mr. Zeisberger has 
very properly divided this part of speech. 


Singular. Plural. 

N dahoala, I love, n dahoalaneen, we love, 

k dahoala, thou k dahoalohhimo, you 

w dahoala, I . 

\ he ahoalewak, they 

or anoaieu J 

Now for the personal forms in the same tense. 


Singular. Plural. 

K dahoatell, / love thee, . K dahoalohhumo, / love you, 

n dahoala, I love him or her. n dahoalawak, them. 



Singular. Plural. 

K dahoali, tkou lovest me, k dahoalineen, thou lovest us, 

k dahoala, him or her. k dahoalawak, them. 


HE, (or SHE.) 

Singular. Plural. 

N dahoaluk, he loves me, w dahoalguna, he loves us, 

k dahoaluk, thee, w dahoalguwa, you, 

w dahoalawall him. w dahoalawak, them. 


Singular. Plural. 

K dahoalenneen, we love thee, k dahoalohummena, we love y 

n dahoalawuna, him. n dahoalowawuna, them. 



Singular. Plural. 

K dahoalihhimo, you love me, k da!ioalihhena,jj/0 love us. 

k dahoalanewo, him. k dahoalawawak, them. 



Singular. Plural. 

N dahoalgenewo, they love me, n dahoalgehhena, they love us. 

k dahoalgenewo, thee, k dahoalgehhimo, you. 

w dahoalanewo, him. w dahoalawawak, them. 


In this manner verbs are conjugated through all their moods 
and tenses, and through all their negative, causative, and various 
other forms, with fewer irregularities than any other language 
that I know of. 

These conjugations, no doubt, you have found, or will find in 
Mr. Zeisberger s grammar, but the few examples that I have 
above put together, are necessary to understand the explanation 
which I am about to give. 

The words you quote are: " getannitowit riquitayala" I fear 
God, or rather, according to the Indian inversion, God I fear. 
Your observation is that the inflection or case of the noun sub 
stantive God, is carried to the verb. This is true ; but if you 
enquire for the reason or the manner in which it takes place, 
you will find that ala is the inflection of the second or last per 
son of the verb, in the first personal form ; thus as you have 
seen that n dahoala means I love him, so riquitayala, in the same 
form and person means I fear him ; it is therefore the same as 
if you said God I fear him. This is not meant in the least to 
doubt or dispute the correctness of your position, but to shew in 
what manner the combination of ideas is formed that has led to 
this result. You have now, I believe, a wider field for your 
metaphysical disquisitions. 

I pass on to the other parts of your letter. I believe with 
you that Professor Vater is mistaken in his assertion that the 
language of the Chippeways is deficient in grammatical forms. 
I am not skilled in the Chippeway idiom, but while in Upper 
Canada, I have often met with French Canadians and English 
traders who understood and spoke it very well. I endeavoured 
to obtain information from them respecting that language, and 
found that it much resembled that of the Lenape. The differ 
ences that I observed were little more than some variations in 
sound, as b for p, and i for u. Thus, in the Delaware, wapacJi- 
quiwan means a blanket, in the Chippeway it is wabewian; 
gischuch is Delaware for a star, the Chippeways say gischis ; 
wape in Delaware white ; in the Chippeway, wabe. Both nations 
have the word Mannitto for God, or the Great Spirit, a word 
which is common to all the nations and tribes of the Lenape 


There is no doubt that the Chippeways, like the Mahicanni, 
Naticks, Wampanos, Nanticokes, and many other nations, are a 
branch of the great family of the Lenni Lenape, therefore I can 
not believe that there is so great a difference in the forms of 
their languages from those of the mother tongue. I shall, how 
ever, write on the subject to one of our Missionaries who resides 
in Canada, and speaks the Chippeway idiom, and doubt not .that 
in a short time I shall receive from him a full and satisfactory 

On the subject of the numerals, I have had occasion to ob 
serve that they sometimes differ very much in languages derived 
from the same stock. Even the Minsi, a tribe of the Lenape or 
Delaware nation, have not all their numerals like those of the 
Unami tribe, which is the principal among them. I shall give 
you an opportunity of comparing them. 

Numerals of the Minsi. Numerals of the Unami. 

1. Gutti. I. N gutti. 

2. Nischa. 2. Nischa. 

3. Nacha 3. Nacha. 

4. Newa. 4. Newo. 

5. Nalan, (algonk. narau.) 5. Palenach. 

6. Guttasch. 6. Guttasch. 

7. Nischoasch, (algonk. nissouassou.) 7. Nischasch. 

8. Chaasch. 8. Chasch. 

9. Nolewi. 9. Peschkonk. 
10. Wimbat. 10. Tellen. 

You will easily observe that the numbers five and ten in the 
Minsi dialect, resemble more the Algonkin, as given by La 
Hontan, than the pure Delaware. I cannot give you the reason 
of this difference. To this you will add the numerous errors 
committed by those who attempt to write down the words of 
the Indian languages, and who either in their own have not 
alphabetical signs adequate to the true expression of the sounds, 
or want an Indian ear to distinguish them. I could write a 
volume on the subject of their ridiculous mistakes. I am, &c. 




BETHLEHEM, 24th June, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I now proceed to answer the several queries con 
tained in your letter of the I3th inst. 

1. The double consonants are used in writing the words of 
the Delaware language, for the sole purpose of indicating that 
the vowel which immediately precedes them is short, as in the 
German words immer, nimmer, schimmer, and the English felloiv, 
terrible, ill, butter, &c. The consonant is not to be articulated 

2. The apostrophe which sometimes follows the letters n and 
k, is intended to denote the contraction of a vowel, as ripom- 
mauchsi, for ni pommauchsi, n dappiwi, for ni dappiivi, &c. If 
Mr. Zeisberger has placed the apostrophe in any case before the 
consonant, he must have done it through mistake. 

3. There is a difference in pronunciation between ke and que ; 
the latter is pronounced like kue or kwe. In a verb, the ter 
mination ke indicates the first person of the plural, and qne the 

4. The word wenn, employed in the German translation of the 
tenses of the conjunctive mood of the Delaware verbs, means 
both when, and if, and is taken in either sense according to the 
content of the phrase in which the word is used. Examples : 
Hi gachtingetscJi pommaitchsiane, "!F I live until the next year" 
Payane Philadelphia, " WHEN I come to Philadelphia." 

5. Sometimes the letters c or g, are used in writing the 
Delaware language instead of k, to shew that this consonant is 
not pronounced too hard ; but in general c and g have been used 
as substitutes for k, because our printers had not a sufficient 
supply of types for that character. 

6. Where words are written with ij, both the letters are to be 
articulated ; the latter like the English y before a vowel. For 
this reason in writing Delaware words I often employ the y in 
stead of y, which Mr. Zeisberger and the German Missionaries 


always make use of. Thus Elsija is to be pronounced like El- 

7. Answered in part above, No. 5. The double vowels are 
merely intended to express length of sound, as in the German. 

8. C/i, answers to the X of the Greeks, and ch of the Germans. 
Hh, like all other duplicated consonants, indicates only the short 
sound of the preceding vowels. I am, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, i3th July, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I have received your kind letters of the 2Oth and 
24th ult. It is impossible to be more clear, precise, and accu 
rate, than you are in your answers to my various questions. 
The information which your letters contain is of the highest 
interest to me, and I doubt not will prove so to the Committee, 
by whose orders I have engaged in this Correspondence, on a 
subject entirely new to me, but with which I hope in time and 
with your able assistance, to become better acquainted. 

M. de Volney has said somewhere in his excellent Descriptive 
View of the United States, that it were to be wished that five or 
six eminent linguists should be constantly employed at the pub 
lic expense to compile Indian Grammars and Dictionaries. I 
cannot suppose that the Count meant literally what he said, as 
he must have been sensible of the difficulties attending on the 
execution of such a plan, but at any rate, here is a noble display 
of enthusiasm for our favourite science, and a sufficient encour 
agement for us to pursue our philological enquiries. Alas ! if 
the beauties of the Lenni Lenape language were found in the 
ancient Coptic, or in some ante-diluvian Babylonish dialect, how 
would the learned of Europe be at work to display them in a 
variety of shapes and raise a thousand fanciful theories on that 
foundation ! What superior wisdom, talents and knowledge 
would they not ascribe to nations whose idioms were formed 
with so much skill and method ! But who cares for the poor 


American Indians ? They are savages and barbarians and live 
in the woods ; must not their languages be savage and barbarous 
like them ? 

Thus reason those pretended philosophers who court fame by 
writing huge volumes on the origin of human language, without 
knowing, perhaps, any language but their own, and the little 
Latin and Greek that they have been taught at College. You 
would think, when you read their works, that they had lived in 
the first ages of the creation and had been intimately acquainted 
with the family of our first parents. They know exactly what 
words were first uttered when men began to communicate their 
ideas to each other by means of articulated sounds; they can tell 
you how the various parts of speech, in perfect regular order, 
were successively formed, and with a little encouragement, they 
would, I have no doubt, compile a Grammar and Dictionary of 
the primitive language, as one Psalmanazar did once in England 
of a supposed Formosan tongue. It is a pity, indeed, that the 
Delawares, the Wyandots and the Potowatamies, with languages 
formed on a construction which had not been before thought of, 
come to destroy their beautiful theories. What then ? are we 
to suppress the languages of our good Indians, or to misrep 
resent them, that the existing systems on Universal Grammar 
and the origin of language may be preserved ? No, my friend, 
we shall on the contrary, I hope, labour with all our might to 
make them known, and provide, at least, additional facts for 
future theorists. 

I have been led into this chain of ideas by reading the pon 
derous work of a Scotch Lord named Monboddo, who has 
dreamt of languages more than any other writer that I know. 
On the authority of a Father Sagard, (a French Missionary) he 
represents the language of the Hurons as the most incoherent 
and unsystematical heap of vocables that can possibly be con 
ceived. Their words have no regular formation or derivation, 
no roots or radical syllables, there is no analogy whatever in 
the construction or arrangement of this language. He says, for 
instance, that there is a word for " two years * entirely different 
from those which signify one, three, four or ten years ; that 
"hut" "my hut" and " in my hut" are severally expressed by 


words entirely different from each other. He adduces several 
other examples of the same kind, with which I shall not trouble 
you, and concludes with saying, that " the Huron language is 
the most imperfect of any that has been yet discovered." (Orig. 
of Lang., Vol. L, p. 478.) 

Before we proceed further, let us suppose that a Huron or a 
Delaware is writing a treatise on the origin of language, and in 
the pride of pompous ignorance attempts to make similar obser 
vations on the English idiom. Following Lord Monboddo s 
course of reasoning, he will say: " The English is the most 
imperfect language upon earth, for its words have no kind of 
analogy to each other. They say, for instance, a house, and 
the things that belong to a house they call domestic They 
say a year and an annual payment/ for a sum of money 
payable every year. That is not all ; if the payment is to be 
made in two years, it is then called biennial, in which you find 
no trace of either the word two or the word year , of which in 
a regular language it should be compounded. What belongs to 
a King is royal; to a woman, feminine; to a ship, naval ; to a 
town, urban ; to the country, rural. Such another irregular, un 
methodical dialect never existed, I believe, on the back of the 
great tortoise ! ! " 

Such would be the language of our Huron philosopher, and 
he would be about as right as Lord Monboddo. I have read 
this work of Father Sagard, of which there is a copy in the 
Congress library. It appears to me that the good Father was 
an honest, well meaning, but most ignorant friar, of one of the 
mendicant orders. His residence among the Hurons was very 
short, not more than a twelve-month ; he was, I know not for 
what reason, called home by his superiors, and left America 
with great regret. He has collected a number of words and 
phrases of the Huron language in the form of a vocabulary, 
which he improperly calls a dictionary. I have had it copied 
and shall shew it to you when you come to town. You will be 
satisfied when you see it, that the good man not only never ana 
lysed the language of the Hurons, but was incapable of doing 
it. He was perfectly bewildered in the variety of its forms, and 
drew the very common conclusion that what he could not com- 


prehend was necessarily barbarous and irregular. From an 
attentive perusal of his " dictionary," I am inclined to draw the 
opposite conclusion from that which he has drawn. There ap 
pears to me to be in it sufficient internal evidence to shew that 
the Huron language is rich in grammatical forms, and that it is 
constructed much on the same plan with the Delaware. I shall 
be very glad to have your opinion on it, with such information 
as you are able and willing to give. I beg particularly that you 
will let me know whether there are roots and derivations in the 
Indian languages, analogous to those of our own ? 

I am, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, i8lh July, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. In your letter of the 2/th of May you have said 
that you believed the Delaware nation were those whom the 
Baron La Hontan meant to designate by the name of Algonkins. 
In a subsequent letter, (June 2Oth,) you seem to consider them 
as distinct nations, but nearly allied to each other; you say you 
are not well acquainted with their language, which is not the 
same with that of the Lenape, though there is a considerable 
affinity between them. Upon the whole I suppose that you have 
meant to apply the denomination Algonkins, not only to the 
Delawares proper, but to all the nations and tribes of the same 

This has led me to consider who those Algonkins might be 
that La Hontan speaks of, and upon the best investigation that 
I have been able to make of the subject, I am inclined to believe 
that La Hontan s Algonkins are properly those whom we call 
Chippeways, a family or branch of the Delawares, but not the 
Delawares themselves. I first turned to Dr. Barton s " New 
Views of the Origin of the Nations and Tribes of America," in 
which I found that he considered the Delawares and Chippeways 
as two distinct people ; but when I came to the specimens which 


he gives of their languages in his Vocabularies, I found no dif 
ference whatever in the idioms of the two nations. Pursuing the 
enquiry further, I compared the Vocabulary of the Chippeway 
language given by Carver in his travels, and that of the Algon- 
kin by La Hontan, and was much astonished to find the words 
in each language exactly alike, without any difference but what 
arises from the French and English orthography. The words 
explained by the two authors, happen also to be precisely the 
same, and are arranged in the same alphabetical order. So that 
either Carver is a gross plagiarist, who has pretended to give a 
list of Chippeway words and has only copied the Algonkin 
words given by La Hontan, or the Chippeways and Algonkins 
are one and the same people. I shall be very glad to have your 
opinion on this subject. 

I find in Zeisberger s Grammar something that I cannot well 
comprehend. It is the verb " ridellauchsi " which he translates 
" I live, move about," or " I so live that I move about." Pray, 
is this the only verb in the Delaware language, which signifies 
" to live and have the Indians no idea of " life," but when con 
nected with " locomotion " ? 

Is the W m the Delaware, as your Missionaries write it, to be 
pronounced like the same letter in German, or like the English 
PFand the French ou? If this letter has the German sound, 
then it is exactly the same as that of our V; in that case I 
am astonished that the Delawares cannot pronounce the F, the 
two sounds being so nearly alike. I am, &c. 



BETHLEHEM, 22d July, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I received at the same time your two letters of 
the 1 3th and i8th inst., the last by our friend Dr. Wistar. I 
think you are wrong to complain of the little importance attached 
by the learned of Europe to the study of Indian languages and of 


the false ideas which some of them have conceived respecting 
them. The truth is that sufficient pains have not been taken in 
this country to make them known. Our Missionaries have, in 
deed, compiled grammars and dictionaries of those idioms, but 
more with a view to practical use and to aid their fellow-labourers 
in the great work of the conversion of the Indians to Christianity, 
than in order to promote the study of the philosophy of lan 
guage. They have neither sought fame nor profit, and therefore 
their compositions have remained unknown except in the very 
limited circle of our religious society. It belongs to the literary 
associations of America to pursue or encourage those studies in 
a more extended point of view, and I shall be happy to aid to 
the utmost of my power the learned researches of the American 
Philosophical Society. 

Your remarks on Lord Monboddo s opinion respecting the In 
dian languages, and on Father Sagard s work, on which that 
opinion is founded, I believe to be correct. I am not acquainted 
with the language of the Hurons, which I have always under 
stood to be a dialect of that of the Iroquois, or at least to be 
derived from the same stock, and I cannot conceive why it 
should be so poor and so imperfect as the good Father describes 
it, while its kindred idiom, the Iroquois, is directly the reverse. 
At least, it was so considered by Mr. Zeisberger, who was very 
well acquainted with it. Sir William Johnson thought the same, 
and I believe you will find his opinion on the subject in one of 
the Volumes of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Lon 
don. 1 Golden, in his History of the Five Nations, says " that 
the verbs of that language are varied, but in a manner so differ 
ent from the Greek and Latin, that his informant could not dis 
cover by what rule it was done." 5 I suspect his informant 
had not yet acquired a very profound knowledge of the Iroquois; 
but from his imperfect description of their verbs, I am very nearly 
convinced that they are formed on the same model with those 
of the Lenni Lenape, which Mr. Zeisberger has well described 
in his Grammar of that language. Golden praises this idiom in 

1 See Philos. Trans, abridged; vol. Ixiii., 142. 

* Colden s Hist, of the Five Nations. Octavo ed., 1747, p. 14. 


other respects ; he says that " the Six Nations compound their 
words without end, whereby their language becomes sufficiently 
copious." This is true also of the Delawares. 

The Hurons are the same people whom we call Wyandots ; 
the Delawares call them Delamattenos. I am inclined to believe 
that the tribe whom we call Naudowessies^nd the French Sioux, 
who are said to live to the west or north-west of Lake Superior, 
are a branch of the Hurons; for the rivers which we call Huron, 
(of which there are three) 1 are called by the Chippeways, Nadu- 
wewi, or Naudowessie Sipi. But of this I cannot be sure ; though 
I would rather conclude that Naudowessie is the Chippeway 
name for all the Wyandots or Hurons. It is a fact which, I 
think, deserves to be ascertained. It is a very common error 
to make several Indian nations out of one, by means of the 
different names by which it is known. 

I proceed to answer the questions contained in your letter of 
the 1 8th. 

As it seems to me probable that the Naudowessies and Hu 
rons, though called by different names, are the same people ; so 
it may be the case with the Chippeways and the Algonkins, 
although I have no greater certainty of this hypothesis than of 
the former. I have no doubt, however, of their being both de 
rived from the same stock, which is that of the Lenni Lenape : 
that their languages are strikingly similar is evident from the 
two vocabularies that you mention, and I had rather believe that 
they both speak the same language, than that Captain Carver 
was a plagiarist. The accounts which he gives of the Indians I 
have found in general correct; which is the more remarkable, 
that from his own account, it appears that he did not reside very 
long among them. He must have been, therefore, a very atten 
tive and accurate observer. 

It is very probable that I did not express myself with sufficient 
precision in the passages of my letters of the 2/th of May and 
2Oth of June to which you refer. The Lenni Lenape, or Dela 
wares, are the head of a great family of Indian nations who are 
known among themselves by the generic name of Wapanachki, 

1 One of them empties itself into the north side of Lake St. Clair, another at the 
west end of Lake Erie, and a third on the south side of the said lake, about twenty- 
r we miles east of Sandusky river or bay. 


or " Men of the East." The same language is spread among 
them all in various dialects, of which I conceive the purest is 
that of the chief nation, the Lenape, at whose residence the 
grand national councils meet, and whom the others, by way of 
respect, style grandfather. The Algonkins are a branch of that 
family, but are not, in my opinion, entitled to the pre-eminence 
which the Baron La Hontan ascribes to them. He applied the 
name " Algonkin," in a more extensive sense than it deserves, 
and said that the Algonkin language was the finest and most 
universally spread of any on the continent ; a praise to which I 
think the Lenni Lenape idiom alone is entitled. In this sense 
only I meant to say that the Baron included the Delawares in 
the general descriptive name of 4< Algonkins." 

I have yet to answer your questions respecting the language, 
which I shall do in a subsequent letter. I am, &c. 



BETHLEHEM, 24th July, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I have now to answer your question on the sub 
ject of the Delaware verb, ridellauchsi, which Zeisberger trans 
lates by " I live, or move about," or " I so live that I move about." 
You ask whether this is the only verb in the language which ex 
presses " to live" and whether the Indians have an idea of life, 
otherwise than as connected with locomotion f 

Surely they have ; and I do not see that the contrary follows 
from Mr. Zeisberger s having chosen this particular verb as an 
example of the first conjugation. I perceive you have not yet an 
adequate idea of the copiousness of the Indian languages, which 
possess an immense number of comprehensive words, expressive 
of almost every possible combination of ideas. Thus the proper 
word for " to live " is in the pure Unami dialect le hale he en. An 
Unami meeting an aged acquaintance, whom he has not seen for 
a length of time, will address him thus : "IK k lehelleya ? " * which 

i For " K lehelleya" read K lehellecheya. n 


means, " are you yet alive ? " The other will answer "Hi n papo- 
missi" l " I am yet able to walk about." The verb ij dellauchsin, 
which Mr. Zeisberger quotes, is more generally employed in a 
spiritual sense, " ridellauchsin Patamawos wulelendam" " I live 
up, act up to the glory of God." This verb, like pommauchsin, 
implies action or motion, connected with life, which is still the 
principal idea. I do not know of any thing analogous in the 
English language, except, perhaps, when we say " To walk 
humbly before God ; " but here the word zvalk contains properly 
no idea in itself but that of locomotion, and is not coupled with 
the idea of life, as in the Indian verb which I have cited. The 
idea intended to be conveyed arises in English entirely from the 
figurative sense of the word, in the Delaware from the proper 

I should never have done, were I to endeavour to explain to 
you in all their details the various modes which the Indians have 
of expressing ideas, shades of ideas, and combinations of ideas ; 
for which purpose the various parts of speech are successively 
called to their aid. In the conjugations of the verbs, in Zeis- 
berger s Grammar, you will find but three tenses, present, past, 
and future; but you will be much mistaken if you believe that 
there are no other modes of expressing actions and passions in 
the verbal form as connected with the idea of time. It would 
have been an endless work to have given all those explanations 
in an elementary grammar intended for the use of young Mis 
sionaries, who stood in need only of the principal forms, which 
they were to perfect afterwards by practice. Let me now try to 
give you a faint idea of what I mean by a few examples in the 
Delaware language. 

N mitzi, I eat? 

N mamitzi, I am eating, or am in the act of eating. 

N mitzihump, I have eaten. 

Metschi n gischi mitzi, I am come from eating. 

N dappi mitzi, / am returned from eating. 

1 From the verb Pommauchsin. 

2 In the original it is N mizi ; the German z being pronounced like tz, which mode 
of spelling has been adopted in this publication. 


The first two rimitzi and n mamitzi, both mean I eat, but the 
one is used in the indefinite, and the other in the definite sense, 
and a good speaker will never employ the one instead of the 
other. The three last expressions are all past tenses of the verb 
" I eat" and all mean, " I have eaten" but a person just risen 
from table, will not say, "ridappi mitzi ;" this expression can 
only be used after leaving the place where he has been eating, 
in answer to a person who asks him " where he comes from." 
The word i( n dappi " is connected with the verb apatscliin, to re 
turn. There is another distinction, proper to be mentioned here. 
If the place where the person comes from is near, he says 
"rfdappi" if distant "n dappa." Thus: 

N dappi pihm, / am come from sweating (or from the sweat 

N dappihackiheen, I am come from planting. 
N dappi wickheen, I am come from building a house. 
N dappimanschasqueen, I am come f win mowing grass. 
N dappi notamsesin, I am come from striking fish with a spear. 
N dappallauwin, I am come (returned] from hunting. 
N dappachtopalin, I am come {returned) from making war. 

In the future tense I could shew similar distinctions, but it 
would lead me too far. 

I must now take notice of what Father Sagard says, as you 
have mentioned in your letter of the I3th inst, that the Indian 
languages have " no roots, and that there is no regularity in the 
formation of their words." It is certain that the manner in which 
the Indians in general form their words is different from that of 
the Europeans, but I can easily prove to you that they under 
stand the manner of forming them from " roots" I take, for 
instance, the word wulit, good, proper, right, from which are 
derived : 

Wulik, the good. 
Wulaha, better. 
Wulisso, fine, pretty. 
Wulamoewagan, truth. 
Wulatenamuwi, happy. 


Wulatenamoagan, happiness. 
Wulapensowagan, blessing. 
Wulapan,/^ morning. 
Wuliechen, it is good, or well done. 
Wulittol, they are good. 
Wuliken, it grows well, thrives. 
Wuliechsin, to speak well. 
Wulelendam, to rejoice. 
Wulamallsin, to be well, happy. 

Wulandeu, ) , 

\ a fine day. 
Wuligischgu, j 

Wulapeyu, ///.?/, upright. 
Wuliwatam, to be of good understanding. 
Wuliachpin, to be in a good place. 
Wulilissin, to do well. 
Wulilissu, he is good. 
Wulilissick, behave ye well. 
Wulinaxin, to look well. 
Wulamoeyu, it is true. 
Wulantowagan, grace. 
Wulatopnachgat, 1 a good word. 
Wulatopnamik, good tidings. 
Wulatonamin, 2 to be happy. 
Wulissowagan, prettiness, handsome appearance, 
Wulihilleu, it is good. 
Wulineichquot, it is ivell to be seen. 
Wulelemileu, it is wonderful. 
Wulitehasu, well cut or hewed. 
Wuliwiechinen, to rest well. 
Welsit Mannitto, the Good Spirit. 
From Machtit, bad. 
Machtitsu, nasty. 
Machtesinsu, ugly. 

Machtschi or Matschi Mannitto or Machtando, the evil Spirit, the 
Devil, &c. 

1 For " Wulatopnachgat 1 read " Wulaptonachgat." 
2 For " Wulatonamin 1 1 read " Wulatenamin." 


You will naturally observe that the words derived from the 
root Wulit, imply in general the idea of what is good, handsome, 
proper, decent, just, well, and so pursuing the same general 
object to happiness and its derivatives ; happiness being con 
sidered as a good and pleasant feeling, or situation of the mind, 
and a person who is happy, as being well. This does not, as 
you might suppose, make the language ambiguous ; for the 
Indians speak and understand each other with great precision 
and clearness. 

I have yet to answer your question about the /"and w. There 
are in the Delaware language no such consonants as the German 
w, or English v,f, or r. Where w in this language is placed 
before a vowel, it sounds the same as in English ; before a con 
sonant, it represents a whistled sound of which I cannot well 
give you an idea on paper, but which I shall easily make you 
understand by uttering it before you when we meet. 

I am, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, 3ist July, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I have received with the greatest pleasure your 
two favours of the 24th and 26th inst. ; the last, particularly, has 
opened to me a very wide field for reflection. I am pursuing 
with ardour the study of the Indian languages (I mean of their 
grammatical forms) in all the authors that I can find that have 
treated of the subject, and am astonished at the great similarity 
which I find between those different idioms from Greenland even 
to Chili. They all appear to me to be compounded on a model 
peculiar to themselves, and of which I had not before an idea. 
Those personal forms of the verbs, for instance, which you men 
tion in your letter of the 2Oth of June, I find generally existing 
in the American languages. The Spanish- Mexican Grammarians 
call them transitions, but they are not all equally happy in their 
modes of explaining their nature and use. The word " transition" 


however, I think extremely well chosen, as it gives at once an 
idea of the passage of the verb from the pronoun that governs to 
that which is governed, from "I love" to "I love you." The 
forms of the Indian verbs are so numerous, that a proper techni 
cal term is very much wanted to distinguish this particular class, 
and I adopt with pleasure this appropriate Spanish name, at least, 
until a better one can be found. 

I am sufficiently satisfied from the examples in your last let 
ter that the Indians have in their languages " roots," or radical 
words from which many others are derived ; indeed, I never 
doubted it before, and only meant to shew you by the instances 
of Father Sagard, and Lord Monboddo, what false ideas the 
Europeans have conceived on this subject. The various mean 
ings of the word " wulit" and its derivatives, obtained, as you 
have shewn, by easy or natural transitions from one kindred 
idea to another, are nothing new in language. The Greek has 
the word " kalos" which in its various meanings is very analo 
gous to " ivulit" Instances of similar "transitions" from differ 
ent European idioms might be cited without end. There is one 
in the French which strikes me at this moment with peculiar 
force. In that language, an honest man is "just" in his dealings 
and a judge in his judgments ; but a pair of shoes is so likewise, 
when made exactly to fit the foot, and by a natural transition, 
when the shoes are too tight, they are said to be too just (trop 
justes). A foreigner in France is reported to have said to his 
shoemaker, complaining of the tightness of a pair of new made 
shoes : " Monsieur, ces souliers sont trop equitables" I remember 
also an English song, beginning with the words "Just like love" 
where you see the word "just" is employed without at all im 
plying the idea of equity or justice. But justice is strict, exact, 
correct, precise, and therefore the word just is employed for the 
purpose of expressing these and other ideas connected with that 
to which it was first applied. 

I have made these trite observations, because I am well aware 
that many a priori reasoners would not fail to find in so many 
words of different meanings derived from the same root, a proof of 
the poverty of the Indian languages. They would say that they 
are poor, because they have but few radical words, a conclusion 


which they would infallibly make without taking the pains of 
ascertaining the fact. If they were told that the Greek (the 
copiousness of which is universally acknowledged) has itself but 
a comparatively small number of roots, they would not be at a 
loss to find some other reason in support of their pre-conceived 
opinion. I have read somewhere (I cannot recollect in what 
book), that there was not a greater proof of the barbarism of the 
Indian languages, than the comprehensiveness of their locutions. 
The author reasoned thus : Analysis, he said, is the most diffi 
cult operation of the human mind ; it is the last which man 
learns to perform. Savage nations, therefore, express many 
ideas in a single word, because they have not yet acquired the 
necessary skill to separate them from each other by the process 
of analysis, and to express them simply. 

If this position were true, it would follow that all the lan 
guages of savage nations have been in the origin formed on the 
same model with those of the American Indians, and that simple 
forms have been gradually introduced into them by the progress 
of civilisation. But if we take the trouble of enquiring into facts, 
they will by no means lead us to this conclusion. It is not many 
centuries since the Scandinavian languages of the North of 
Europe were spoken by barbarous and savage nations, but we 
do not find that in ancient times they were more comprehensive 
in their grammatical forms than they are at present, when cer 
tainly they are the least so, perhaps, of any of the European 
idioms ; on the other hand, the Latin and Greek were sufficiently 
so by means of the various moods and tenses of their verbs, all 
expressed in one single word, without the use of auxiliaries ; and 
yet these two nations had attained a very high degree, at least, 
of civilisation. I do not, therefore, see as yet, that there is a 
necessary connexion between the greater or lesser degree of 
civilisation of a people, and the organisation of their language. 
These general conclusions from insulated facts ought constantly 
to be guarded against; they are the most fruitful sources of 
error in the moral as well as in the natural sciences. Facts 
ought to be collected and observations multiplied long before 
we venture to indulge in theoretical inferences ; for unobserved 
facts seem to lie in ambush, to start up at once in the face of fine 
spun theories, and put philosophers in the wrong. 


I wish very much that some able linguist would undertake to 
make a good classification of the different languages of the world 
(as far as they are known) in respect to their grammatical forms. 
It was once attempted in the French Encyclopedia, but without 
success, because the author had only in view the Latin and Greek, 
and those of the modern languages which he was acquainted 
with. His division, if I remember right, was formed between 
those idioms in which inversions are allowed, and those in which 
they are not. Of course, it was the Latin and Greek on the one 
side, and the French, Italian, &c., on the other. This meagre 
classification has not been generally adopted, nor does it, in my 
opinion, deserve to be. A greater range of observation ought 
to be taken. 

I do not pretend to possess talents adequate to carrying into 
execution the plan which I here suggest; but I beg you will 
permit me to draw a brief sketch of what I have in view. 

I observe, in the first place, in the eastern parts of Asia, a class 
of languages formed on the same model, of which I take that 
which is spoken in the empire of China, as it stood before its con 
quest by the Tartars, to be the type. In this language, there is 
but a very small number of words, all monosyllables. As far as 
I am able to judge from the excellent grammars of this idiom of 
which we are in possession, the words convey to the mind only 
the principal or leading ideas of the discourse, unconnected with 
many of those accessory ideas that are so necessary to give pre 
cision to language, and the hearer is left to apply and arrange 
the whole together as well as he can. It has but few or no 
grammatical forms, and is very deficient in what we call the con 
necting parts of speech. Hence it is said that the words spoken 
are not immediately understood by those to whom they are ad 
dressed, and that auxiliary modes of explanation, others than 
oral communication, are sometimes resorted to, when ambiguities 
occur. As I am no Sinologist, I will not undertake to say that 
the description which I have attempted to give of this language, 
from the mere reading of grammars and dictionaries, is very 
accurate, but I venture to assert that it differs so much from all 
others that we know, that with its kindred idioms, it deserves to 
form a genus in a general classification of the various modes of 


speech. From its great deficiency of grammatical forms, I would 
give to this genus the name asyntactic. 

My second class of languages would consist of those which 
possess, indeed, grammatical forms, sufficient to express and con 
nect together every idea to be communicated by means of speech, 
but in which those forms are so organized, that almost every dis 
tinct idea has a single word to convey or express it. Such are 
the Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, and even the German and Eng 
lish. Those forms of the nouns and verbs which are generally 
called declensions and conjugations, are in these languages the 
result of an analytical process of the mind, which has given to 
every single idea, and sometimes to a shade of an idea, a single 
word to express it. Thus, when we say " of the man," here are 
three ideas, which, in the Latin, are expressed by one single 
word " hominis" In the locution " / will not" or " I am not will 
ing" and in the verbal form " I will go" three or four ideas are 
separately expressed in English, which, in Latin, are conveyed 
together by single words " nolo" " ibo" From this peculiar 
quality of sufficiently, yet separately, expressing all the neces 
sary ideas, I would denominate this class of languages analytical, 
or analytic. 

The third class would, of course, be that in which the principal 
parts of speech are formed by a synthetical operation of the 
mind, and in which several ideas are frequently expressed by one 
word. Such are what are called the Oriental languages, with the 
Latin, Greek, Slavonic, and others of the same description. 
These I would call synthetic. 

The French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, with their vari 
ous dialects, in which conquest has in a great degree intermingled 
the modes of speech of the second and third class, would together 
form a fourth, which I would call " mixed" 

In these various classes I have not found a place for the Indian 
languages, which richly deserve to form one by themselves. 
They are "synthetic" in their forms, but to such a degree as is 
not equalled by any of the idioms which I have so denominated, 
and which are only such in comparison with others where ana 
lytic forms prevail. That they deserve to make a class by them 
selves cannot be doubted. They are the very opposite of the 


Chinese, of all languages the poorest in words, as well as in 
grammatical forms, while these are the richest in both. In fact, 
a great variety of forms, necessarily implies a great multiplicity 
of words ; I mean, complex forms, like those of the Indians; 
compound words in which many ideas are included together, and 
are made to strike the mind in various ways by the simple ad 
dition or subtraction of a letter or syllable. In the Chinese 
much is understood or guessed at, little is expressed; in the 
Indian, on the contrary, the mind is awakened to each idea meant 
to be conveyed, by some one or other of the component parts 
of the word spoken. These two languages, therefore, as far as 
relates to their organisation, stand in direct opposition to each 
other; they are the top and bottom of the idiomatic scale, and 
as I have given to the Chinese, and its kindred dialects, the name 
of asyntactic, the opposite name, syntactic, appears to me that 
which is best suited to the languages of the American Indians. 
I find that instead of asking you questions, as I ought to do, I 
am wandering again in the field of metaphysical disquisitions. 
I shall try to be more careful in my next letter. I am, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, 3d August, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I now return to my proper station of a scholar 
asking questions of his master. In your letter of the 24th ult., 
you have fully satisfied me that the Indians have a great number 
of words derived from "roots" much in the same manner as in 
the languages of Europe, but you have said at the same time 
" that the manner in which the Indians in general form their 
words, is different from that of the Europeans." I am very 
anxious to have this manner 1 explained, and I shall be very much 
obliged to you for all the information that you can give me on 
the subject. 

1 For " manner" read " matter." 


I have told you already that I thought I had reason to believe 
that all the American languages were formed on the same gen 
eral plan. If I am correct in my supposition, I think I have found 
in the language of Greenland, the identical manner of compound 
ing words which I am now calling upon you to explain. You 
will tell me whether I have judged right, and you will at once 
destroy or confirm my favourite hypothesis. According to the 
venerable Egede, words are formed in the Greenland language 
by taking and joining together a part of each of the radical words, 
the ideas of which are to be combined together in one compound 
locution. One or more syllables of each simple word are gen 
erally chosen for that purpose and combined together, often leav 
ing out the harsh consonants for the sake of euphony. Thus 
from " agglekpok" he writes, " pekipok" he mends or does better, 
and " pinniarpok" he endeavours, is formed the compound word 
" agglekiniaret" which means, " endeavour to write better." 
The first syllable " agl" is taken from " zg\ekpok" the second 
" ek" from the same word, and also from the first syllable of 
" pekipok" leaving out the / to avoid harshness, and the third 
" inniar" from "Ymm&rpok" also leaving out the initial con 
sonant for the same reason. It seems to me that I find some 
thing like it in the Delaware language. According to Zeisberger, 
wefoochwM signifies " father." Now taking the second syllable 
ooch, and placing n before it, you have " nooch" my father. To 
be sure, it is not the first syllable that is borrowed, as in the 
above example from the Greenlandish, but the principle appears, 
nevertheless, to be the same in both languages. 

On the subject of this word "father" I observe a strange con 
tradiction between two eminent writers on Indian languages, 
evidently derived from the stock of the Lenni Lenape or Dela 
ware. One of them, Roger Williams, in his Key to the Language 
of the New England Indians, says " osh" (meaning probably och 
or ooch, as the English cannot pronounce the guttural cJi) father; 
"nosh" my father; " kosh" thy father, &c. On the other hand, 
the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, in his observations on the language 
of the Muhhekanew (Mohican) Indians, speaks as follows : " A 
considerable part of the appellations is never used without a 
pronoun affixed. The Mohegans say, my father, nogh* (again 


nock or nooch) thy father koghj &c., but they cannot say abso 
lutely father There is no such word in their language. If 
you were to say oghj you would make a Mohegan both stare 
and smile." (page 13.) 

Which of these two professors is right ? It seems that either 
Rogers invented the word osh for " father," from analogy, or 
that Edwards is not correct when he says that ogh or ooch 
singly, mean nothing in the Indian language. Is he not mis 
taken when he says that there is no word whatever answering 
to "father," or "the father," in an abstract sense; and if an In 
dian would stare and smile when a white man says ooch, would 
he smile in the same manner if he said wetoochivink ? Is it pos 
sible to suppose that this respectable author had only a partial 
knowledge of the language on which he wrote, and that he was 
not acquainted with the radical word from which nooch and kooch 
had been formed? Or is there no such radical word, and has 
Zeisberger himself committed a mistake ? 

I beg leave to submit to you also another observation that I 
have made. It appears from the work of the late Dr. Barton, 
who quotes your authority for it, that the name of the Lcnni Lcn- 
ape, means "the original people," and that "Lcnno" in the Dela 
ware language signifies " man," in the general sense, (Mcnsch.) 
Now, it appears that in the language of the Micmacs (a tribe of 
Nova Scotia,) they call an Indian "Illenoh" and in that of the 
Canadian mountaineers (whom some believe to be the Algon- 
kins proper) they say " Illenmt." (Mass. Histor. Coll. for the 
year 1799, PP- l8 . J 9-) I am apt to believe that those names 
are the same with "Lcnno; and that it is from them that the 
French have formed the name "Illinois" which extends even 
beyond the Mississippi. In the speech of the Indian chief Ga- 
rangula, to the Governor of Canada, related by La Hontan, the 
warrior says : " You must know, Onontio, that we have robbed 
no Frenchmen, but those who supplied the Illinois / and the 
Oumamis; our enemies, with powder and ball." I am inclined 
to believe that Garangula when he spoke of the Illinois meant 
the Lenni Lcnapc, and by the name of Ownamis, intended to de 
scribe their chief tribe, the Unamis. Of this, however, I leave 
you to judge. But I strongly suspect that "Lenno," "Lenni" "//- 


Icnoh" "Illenou" "Illinois" are the same name, and all apply to 
that great nation whom the Baron La Hontan takes to be the 
Algonkins, who, it would seem, are only called so by way of dis 
crimination, but consider themselves as a branch of the great 
family of the "Illenou." If I am correct in this, how do you 
make out that Lenni Lenape means " original people " / 

/The Greenlanders, according to Egede, call themselves Innuit, 
which in their language also signifies men. It appears to me to 
be very much akin to Illenoh, Illeun. Could the Greenlanders 
be in any way connected with the Lenni Lenape ? 

Pray tell me from what languages are derived the words 
squaw, sachem, tomahawk, calumet, wampum, papoose, which are 
so much in use among us ? Are they of the Delaware or the 
Iroquois stock ? I am, &c. 



BETHLEHEM, i2th August, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I have duly received your two letters of the 3ist 
of July and $d of August last. I am much pleased with your 
metaphysical disquisitions, as you call them, and I beg you will 
indulge in them with perfect freedom, whenever you shall feel 
so disposed. I agree with you that a proper classification of 
human languages would be a very desirable object ; but I fear 
the task is too hard ever to be accomplished with the limited 
knowledge of man. There are, no doubt, many varieties in lan 
guage yet to be discovered. 

As you wish to be acquainted with the manner in which our 
North American Indians compound their words, I shall endeav 
our to satisfy you as well as I am able. The process is much 
the same as that which Egede has described with respect to the 
Greenland language, and this strongly corroborates your opinion 
respecting the similarity of forms of at least of those of North 
America. In the Delaware and other languages that I am ac 
quainted with, parts or parcels of different words, sometimes a 


single sound or letter, are compounded together, in an artificial 
manner, so as to avoid the meeting of harsh or disagreeable 
sounds, and make the whole word fall in a pleasant manner 
upon the ear. You will easily conceive that words may thus 
be compounded and multiplied without end, and hence the pecu 
liar richness of the American languages. Of this I can give you 
numerous examples. In the first place, the word "nadholineen." 
It is a simple short word, but means a great deal. The ideas 
that are conveyed by it are these : " Come with the canoe and 
take us across the river or stream." Its component parts are as 
follows: The first syllable " nad" is derived from the verb "na- 
tcn" to fetch; the second, "hoi" from " amocliol" a canoe or 
boat; "ineen" is the verbal termination for "us" as in milineen, 
" give us ; " the simple ideas, therefore, contained in this word, 
are "fetch canoe us" but in its usual and common acceptation it 
means, " come and fetch us across the river with a canoe." I 
need not say that this verb is conjugated through all its moods 
and tenses. Nadholawall is the form of the third person of the 
singular of the indicative present, and means " He is fetched 
over the river with a canoe," or simply, " He is fetched over 
the river." 

From wimipach, a leaf, nach, a hand, and qidrn, a nut growing 
on a tree (for there is a peculiar word to express nuts of this 
description and distinguish them from other nuts) is formed 
wunachquim, an acorn, and the ideas which by this name are 
intended to be conveyed are these: "The nut of the tree the 
leaves of which resemble a hand, or have upon them the form 
of a hand." If you will take the trouble to examine the leaves 
of an oak tree, you will find on them the form of a hand with 
outspread fingers. On the same principle are formed 

M sim, hickory nut. 

Ptucquim, walnut. 

Wapim, chestnut. 

Schauwemin, beech nut, and many others. 

The tree which we call " Spanish oak" remarkable for the 
largeness of its leaves, they call "AmanganaschquiminsM" " the 
tree which has the largest leaves shaped like a hand." If I were 
to imitate the composition of this word in English and apply it 


to our language, I would say Largehandleafnuttree, and softening 
the sounds after the Indian manner, it would perhaps make 
Larjandliff entree > or Larjandlennuttree^ or something like it. Of 
course, in framing the word, an English ear should be consulted. 
The last syllable of that which I have last cited, is not taken 
from the proper name for tree, which is hittuck ; but from " ach- 
pansi" * which means the " stock, trunk or body of a tree" (in 
German " der stamm "). The last syllable of this word, " si" is 
in its compound converted into scki, probably for the sake of 
euphony, of which an Indian ear in this case is the best judge. 

Again, "nanayunges" in Delaware means "a horse." It is 
formed from awesis, a beast, from which the last syllable es is 
taken, and nayundam, to carry a burden on the back or shoulders ; 
for when something is carried in the hands or arms, the proper 
verb is * gelenummen" The word which signifies "horse," there 
fore, literally means, " the beast which carries on its back," or 
in other words, "a beast of burden." Were asses or camels 
known to the Indians, distinctive appellations for them would 
soon and easily be formed. 

Thus much for the names of natural substances, and words 
which relate to visible objects. Let us now turn to the expres 
sion of ideas which affect the moral sense. 

You will remember that I have told you before that " wulik " 
or " vwilit" signifies "good," and in the various derivations which 
flow from it means almost every thing that is good, just, proper, 
decent, pleasing or agreeable. When an Indian wishes to ex 
press that he is pleased with something that you have told him, 
he will say in his metaphorical language : " You have spoken 
good words." Now let us see how this compound idea is ex 
pressed. " Kolamoe " is one of the forms of the past tense of a 
verb which means " to speak the truth," and properly translated 
signifies " thou hast spoken the truth," or " thou hast spoken 
good words." K, from ki, expresses the second person, " ola" 
is derived from wulit and conveys the idea of good ; the rest of 
the word implies the action of speaking. 

In the third person, " wulamoe " means " he has spoken the 

1 For ft ackpansi" read " achpanschi" 


truth ; " from which is formed the noun substantive wulamoewagan, 
" the truth : " zvagan or woagan (as our German Missionaries 
sometimes write it to express the sound of the English w) being 
a termination which answers to that of " ness " in English, and 
" heit" or " keit" in German. Pursuing further the same chain 
of ideas , wulistamoewagan or wulamhittamoewagan, means " faith" 
or " belief," the belief of what a man has seen or heard ; for glis- 
tam is a verb which signifies " to hear, hearken, listen ; " hence 
" wulista" believe it, wulistam t he believes ; wulisto, believe ye, 
&c. The Indians say klistcrcvi ! hear me! nolsittammen, I be 
lieve it ; ammen or tammen abridged from Jdttainmen, where they 
are employed as terminations, mean " to do, perform, adopt" 
See what a number of ideas are connected together in single 
words, and with what regularity they are compounded, with 
proper terminations indicating the part of speech, form, mood, 
tense, number and person, that they respectively belong to ! 
The various shades of thought that those different modes of 
speech discriminate are almost innumerable ; for instance, wulis- 
tammen means simply to believe : wulamsittammen to believe 
with full conviction. I would never have done, if I were to point 
out to you all the derivatives from this source, or connected with 
the idea of belief, which word I bring forward merely by way of 
example, there being many others equally fruitful. There is 
wulamoinaquot, credible, worthy of belief (sometimes used as an 
impersonal verb, " it is credible, it deserves to be believed ") ; 
welsittawot) a believer; welsittank, a believer in the religious 
sense, &c. 

The syllable pal or /^/prefixed to some words, implies denial, 
and also frequently denotes wrong and is taken in a bad sense. 
Hence palsittamoewagan, unbelief; palsittammen, to disbelieve ; 
pelsittank, an unbeliever; pelsittangik, unbelievers. Again, pal- 
hwi, otherwise ; palliton, to spoil, to do something wrong ; pal- 
hiken, to make a bad shot, to miss the mark in shooting ; palhit- 
echen, to aim a stroke and miss it; pallahammen, to miss in 
shooting & game ; pallilissin, to do something amiss or wrong. 

M. de Volney has very justly observed on the Miami lan 
guage, which is a dialect of the Lenape, that m at the beginning 
of a word implies in general something bad or ugly. It is cer- 


tainly so in the Delaware, though not without exceptions, for 
mannitto, a spirit, by which name God himself, the great and 
good Spirit is called, begins with that ill-pmened letter. Never 
theless the words " machit" bad, and " medhick" evil, have pro- 
duced many derivatives, or words beginning with the syllables 
med, mack, mat, mm, me, mas, &c., all of which imply something 
bad, and are taken in a bad sense. For instance, mekih and 
melih, corruption ; machtando, the devil ; machtageen, to fight, 
kill; machtapan, a bad, unpleasant morning; machtapeek, bad 
time, time of war; machtonquam, to have a bad dream, &c. I 
mention this merely to do justice to the sagacity of M. Volney, 
whose few observations upon the Indians induce us to regret that 
he was not in a situation to make more. 

I begin to feel fatigued, and therefore shall take leave of you 
for the present and reserve the remainder of my answer for my 
next letter. I am, &c. 



BETHLEHEM, i5th August, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I sit down to conclude my answer to your letter 
of the 3d inst. 

Before I begin this task, let me give you some examples that 
now occur to me to shew the regularity of the formation of In 
dian words. 

1. The names of reptiles generally end in gook or gookses. 
Achgook, a snake. 

Suckachgook, a black snake (from suck or suckeu, black.) 
Mamalachgook, spotted snake. 
Asgaskachgook, green snake. 

2. The names of fishes in meek (Namtzs, a fish.) 
Maschilameek, a trout (spotted fish.) 
Wisameek, cat-fish (the fat fish.) 
Suckameek, black fish. 

Lennameek, chub fish. 


3. The names of other animals, have in the same manner 
regular terminations, ap, or ape, for walking in an erect posture ; 
hence lenape, man ; chum, for four-legged animals, and wehelleu, 
for the winged tribes. I need not swell this letter with exam- 
.ples, which would add nothing to your knowledge of the prin 
ciple which I have sufficiently explained. 

I now proceed to answer your letter. 

Notwithstanding Mr. Edwards s observation (for whom I feel 
the highest respect), I cannot help being of opinion, that the 
monosyllable ooch, is the proper word for father, abstractedly 
considered, and that it is as proper to say ooch, father, and nooch, 
my father, as dallemons, beast, and rfdallemons, my beast; or 
nitschan, child, or a child, and rinitschan, my child. It is certain, 
however, that there are few occasions for using these words in 
their abstract sense, as there are so many ways of associating 
them with other ideas. Wetoochwink and wetochemuxit both 
mean " the father," in a more definite sense, and wetochemelenk 
is used in the vocative sense, and means " thou our father." I 
once heard Captain Pipe, a celebrated Indian chief, address the 
British commandant at Detroit, and he said nooch ! my father ! 

The shades of difference between these several expressions are 
so nice and delicate, that I feel great difficulty in endeavouring 
to explain them. Wetochemuxit, I conceive to be more properly 
applicable to the heavenly Father, than to an earthly one. It 
implies an idea of power and authority over his children, superior 
to that of mere procreation, therefore I think it fittest to be used 
in prayer and worship. Wetoochwink, on the contrary, by the 
syllable we or wet, prefixed to it, implies progeny and ownership 
over it ; * and wink or ink conveys the idea of the actual exist 
ence of that progeny. Yet Mr. Zeisberger, who well understood 
the language, has used wetoochwink in the spiritual sense. Thus, 
in his Delaware Hymn Book, 2 you find, page 15, Pennamook 
Wetoochwink milquenk ! which is in English " Behold what the 

1 Wenitschanit, the parent or owner of a child naturally begotten ; wetallemansit, 
the owner of the beast. 

2 \A Collection of Hymns, for the use of the Christian Indians of the Missions of 
the United Brethren, in North America. Philadelphia : Printed by Henry Sweitzer, 
at the corner of Race and Fourth Streets, 1803. A second edition of this work 
abridged, and edited by the Rev. Abraham Luckenbach, was published at Bethlehem 
in 1847.] 


Father has given us ! " Again, in the same book, page 32, we 
read, "Hallewiwi wetockemuxit" which means " The Father of 
Eternity." Upon the whole I believe that ooch is a proper 
word for " father " or " a father," but wetoochwink may also be 
used in the same sense, notwithstanding its more definite general 
acceptation. There is little occasion, however, to use either 
with this abstract indefinite meaning. 

I agree with you that lenni, lenno, illenoh, illenou, Illinois, appear 
to have all the same derivation, and to be connected with the 
idea of man, nation, or people. Lenno, in the Delaware language, 
signifies man, and so does Lenape, in a more extended sense. 
In the name of the Lenni Lenape, it signifies people ; but the 
word lenni t which precedes it, has a different signification and 
means original, and sometimes common, plain, pure, unmixed. 
Under this general description the Indians comprehend all that 
they believe to have been first created in the origin of things. 
To all such things they prefix the word lenni ; as, for instance, 
when they speak of high lands, they say lenni hacki (original 
lands), but they do not apply the same epithet to low lands, 
which being generally formed by the overflowing or washing of 
rivers, cannot, therefore, be called original. Trees which grow 
on high lands are also called lenni hittuck, original trees. In the 
same manner they designate Indian corn, pumpkins, squashes, 
beans, tobacco, &c., all which they think were given by the 
Great Spirit for their use, from the beginning. Thus, they call 
Indian corn 1 lencliasqueem, from lenni and chasqueem ; beans, 
lenalachksilal, from lenni and malachksital ; tobacco, lenkschatey, 
from lenni and kschatey ; which is the same as if they said origi 
nal corn, original beans, original tobacco. They call the linden tree 
lennikby, from lenni and wikby ; the last word by itself meaning 
" the tree whose bark peels freely," as the bark of that tree 
peels off easily all the year round. This bark is made use of as a 
rope for tying and also for building their huts, the roof and sides 
of which are made of it. A house thus built is called lennikgawon, 
"original house or hut," from lennikby, original, or linden tree, 
wikheen, to build, and jagawon or yagaivon, a house with a flat 
roof. It is as if they said "a house built of original materials." 

1 For " Indian corn " read " a particular species of Indian corn" 


Lcnnasqual, in the Minsi dialect, means a kind of grass which 
is supposed to have grown on the land from the beginning. 
English grasses, as timothy, &c., they call schwamiockasqiiall, 
or white men s grass. The chub fish they call lennameek, be 
cause, say they, this fish is in all fresh water or streams, whereas 
other fish are confined to certain particular waters or climates. 

They also say lenni iribi, "pure water;" leneyacJikhican, a 
fowling piece, as distinguished from a rifle, because it was the 
first fire-arm they ever saw ; a rifle they call tetupalachgat. They 
say, lenaclisinnall, " common stones," because stones are found 
every where, lenachpoan, " common bread," (achpoan means 
"bread"); lenachgook, a common snake, such as is seen every 
where (from achgook t a snake) ; lenchum, the original, common 
dog, not one of the species brought into the country by the 
white people. I think I have sufficiently explained the name 
" Lenni Lenape" 

As I do not know the Greenland language, I cannot say how 
far the word " innuit" is connected with lenni or Icnno, or any 
of the words or names derived from them. 

The words squaw, sachem, tomahawk, and wigwam^ are words 
of Delaware stock, somewhat corrupted by the English. Ochqiteu, 
woman ; sakima, chief; tamahican, hatchet ; 1 wickwam (both 
syllables long, as in English weekwawm), a house. Hence, nik, 
my house ; kik, thy house ; wikit, his house ; wikichtit, their 
houses ; wikta, at my house ; wiquahemink, in the house ; again, 
wickheen, to build a house ; wikhitschik, the builders of a house ; 
wikheu, he is building a house ; wikJietamok, let us build a 
house ; ivikheek (imperative), build a house ; wikhattoak, they 
are building (a house or houses). 

Calumet is not an Indian word ; M. Volney thinks it is an 
English word for a tobacco pipe ; it is certainly not proper Eng 
lish, but I have always thought that it was first used by the 
English or the French. The Delaware for a tobacco pipe is 
Poakan (two syllables). 

Wampum is an Iroquois word, and means a marine shell. 

1 All words ending in ican,hican, kschican, denote a sharp instrument for cutting. 
Pachkschican, a knife ; pkuschican, a gimlet,, an instrument which cuts into holes ; 
tangamican, or tangandican, a spear, a sharp-pointed instrument; poyachkican, a 
gun, or an instrument that cuts with force. 


Papoose, I do not know ; it is not a word of the Delaware 
language, yet it is possible that it may be used by some Indian 
nations, from whom we may have borrowed it. I have been 
told that the Mahicanni of New England made use of this word 
for a child. I am, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, 2ist August, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I have read with the greatest pleasure your two in 
teresting letters of the I2th and I5th. I need not tell you how 
pleased the Historical Committee are with your correspondence, 
which is laid before them from time to time. I am instructed to do 
all in my power to induce you to persevere in giving to your country 
the so much wanted information concerning the Indians and their 
languages. The Committee are convinced that the first duty 
of an American Scientific Association is to occupy themselves 
with the objects that relate to our own country. It is on these 
subjects that the world has a right to expect instruction from us. 

I am busily employed in studying and translating the excel 
lent Delaware Grammar of Mr. Zeisberger; I hope the Histor 
ical Committee will publish it in due time. The more I become 
acquainted with this extraordinary language, the more I am de 
lighted with its copiousness and with the beauty of its forms. 
Those which the Hispano-Mexican Grammarians call transitions 
are really admirable. If this language was cultivated and pol 
ished as those of Europe have been, and if the Delawares had 
a Homer or Virgil among them, it is impossible to say with such 
an instrument how far the art could be carried. The Greek is 
admired for its compounds ; but what are they to those of the 
Indians? How many ideas they can combine and express to 
gether in one single locution, and that too by a regular series 
of grammatical forms, by innumerably varied inflexions of the 
same radical word, with the help of pronominal affixes ! All 
this, my dear sir, is combined with the most exquisite skill, in 
a perfectly regular order and method, and with fewer exceptions 


or anomalies than I have found in any other language. This is 
what really astonishes me, and it is with the greatest difficulty 
that I can guard myself against enthusiastic feelings. The verb, 
among the Indians, is truly the word by way of excellence. It 
combines itself with the pronoun, with the adjective, with the 
adverb ; in short, with almost every part of speech. There are 
forms both positive and negative which include the two pro 
nouns, the governing and the governed ; ktahoatell? " I love 
thee ; " ktahoalowi, " I do not love thee." The adverb " not," 
is comprised both actively and passively in the negative forms, 
n dahoalawi, "I do not love;" n dahoalgnssi wi, "I am not 
loved ; " and other adverbs are combined in a similar manner. 
From schingi, "unwillingly," is formed schingattam, " to be un 
willing," schingoochwcn, "to go somewhere unwillingly," schin- 
gimikemossin, " to work unwillingly ; " from wingi, " willingly," 
we have wingsittam t "to hear willingly," wingachpin, "to be 
willingly somewhere," wingilauchsin, " to live willingly in a par 
ticular manner;" from the adverb gimich* "long," comes gune- 
lendam, "to think one takes long to do something;" gunagen, 
"to stay out long ; " and so are formed all the rest of the nume 
rous class of adverbial verbs. The adjective verbs are produced 
in the same way, by a combination of adjective nouns with the 
verbal form. Does gunen mean " long " in the adjective sense, 
you have guneep, it was long, guneuchtschi, it will be long, &c. ; 
from kschiechekj " clean," is formed kschiecheep, " it was clean ; " 
from machkeu, " red," machkeep, " it was red ; " and so on through 
the whole class of words. Prepositions are combined in the 
same manner, but that is common also to other languages. 
What extent and variety displays itself in those Indian verbs, 
and what language, in this respect, can be compared to our sav 
age idioms ? 

Nor are the participles less rich or less copious. Every verb 
has a long series of participles, which when necessary can be 
declined and used as adjectives. Let me be permitted to in 
stance a few from the causative verb widamalessohen, " to make 
happy." I take them from Zeisberger. 

1 For "Ktahoatell" read " Ktahoalell." 

2 For "gunich" read " gunih" 


Wulamalessohaluwed, he who makes happy. 
Wulamalessohalid, he who makes me happy. 
Wulamalessohalquon, he who makes thee happy. 
Wulamalessohalat, he who makes him happy. 
Wulamalessohalquenk, he who makes us happy. 
Wulamalessohalqueek, he who makes you happy. 
Wulamalessohalquichtit, he w/w makes them happy. 

Now comes another participial -pronominal -vocative form; 
which may in the same manner be conjugated through all the 
objective persons. Wulamalessolialian ! THOU WHO MAKEST ME 

I will not proceed further; but permit me to ask you, my dear 
sir, what would Tibullus or Sappho have given to have had at 
their command a word at once so tender and so expressive ? 
How delighted would be Moore, the poet of the loves and 
graces, if his language, instead of five .or six tedious words 
slowly following in the rear of each other, had furnished him 
with an expression like this, in which the lover, the object be 
loved, and the delicious sentiment which their mutual passion 
inspires, are blended, are fused together in one comprehensive 
appellative term ? And it is in the languages of savages that 
these beautiful forms are found! What a subject for reflection, 
and how little do we know, as yet, of the astonishing things 
that the world contains ! 

In the course of my reading, I have often seen the question 
discussed which of the two classes of languages, the analytical 
or the synthetical (as I call them), is the most perfect or is prefer 
able to the other. Formerly there seemed to be but one senti 
ment on the subject, for who cannot perceive the superiority of 
the Latin and Greek, over the modern mixed dialects which at 
present prevail in Europe ? But we live in the age of paradoxes, 
and there is no opinion, however extraordinary, that does not 
find supporters. To me it would appear that the perfection of 
language consists in being able to express much in a few words ; 
to raise at once in the mind by a few magic sounds, whole 
masses of thoughts which strike by a kind of instantaneous in 
tuition. Such in its effects must be the medium by which im- 


mortal spirits communicate with each other; such, I should 
think, were I disposed to indulge in fanciful theories, must 
have been the language first taught to mankind by the great 
author of all perfection. 

All this would probably be admitted if the Latin and Greek 
were only in question : for their supremacy seems to stand on 
an ancient legitimate title not easy to be shaken, and there is 
still a strong prepossession in the minds of the learned in favour 
of the languages in which Homer and Virgil sang. But since it 
has been discovered that the barbarous dialects of savage nations 
are formed on the same principle with the classical idioms, and 
that the application of this principle is even carried in them to 
a still greater extent, it has been found easier to ascribe the beau 
tiful organisation of these languages to stupidity and barbarism, 
than to acknowledge our ignorance of the manner in which it 
has been produced. Philosophers have therefore set themselves 
to work in order to prove that those admirable combinations of 
ideas in the form of words, which in the ancient languages of 
Europe used to be considered as some of the greatest efforts of 
the human mind, proceed in the savage idioms from the absence 
or weakness of mental powers in those who originally framed 

Among those philosophers the celebrated Dr. Adam Smith 
stands pre-eminent. In an elegant treatise on the origin and 
formation of language, he has endeavoured to shew that syn 
thetical forms of speech were the first rude attempts which men 
made to communicate their ideas, and that they employed com 
prehensive and generic terms, because their minds had not yet 
acquired the powers of analysis and were not capable of discrim 
inating between different objects. Hence, he says every river 
among primitive men was the river, every mountain the moun 
tain, and it was very long before they learned to distinguish 
them by particular names. On the same principle, he con 
tinues, men said in one word plnit (it rains,) before they could 
so separate their confused ideas as to say the rain or the water 
is falling. Such is the sense and spirit of his positions, which 
I quote from memory. 

This theory is certainly very ingenious ; it is only unfortunate 


that it does not accord with facts, as far as our observations can 
trace them. You have shown that the comprehensive compounds 
of the Delaware idiom are formed out of other words expressive 
of single ideas ; these simple words, therefore, must have been 
invented before they were compounded into others, and thus 
analysis presided over the first formation of the language. So 
far, at least, Dr. Smith s theory falls to the ground ; nor does he 
appear to be better supported in his supposition of the pre-exist- 
ence of generic terms. For Dr. Wistar has told me, and quotes 
your authority for it, that such are seldom in use among the 
Indians, and that when a stranger pointing to an object asks 
how it is called, he will not be told a tree, a river, a mountain, 
but an ash, an oak, a beech ; the Delaware, the Mississippi, the 
Allegheny. If this fact is correctly stated, it is clear that among 
those original people every tree is not tJie tree, and every moun 
tain the mountain, but that, on the contrary, everything is in 
preference distinguished by its specific name. 

It is no argument, therefore, against the synthetical forms of 
language, that they are in use among savage nations. However 
barbarous may be the people by whom they are employed, I 
acknowledge that I can see nothing barbarous in them, but think, 
on the contrary, that they add much to the beauty of speech. 
This is neither the time nor the place to enter into an elaborate 
discussion of this subject, but I beg leave to be allowed to illus 
trate and support my opinion by a lively example taken from 
the Latin tongue. 

Suetonius relates that the Roman Emperor Claudius (one of 
the most barbarous tyrants that ever existed,) once gave to his 
courtiers the spectacle of a naval combat on the Fucine lake, to 
be seriously performed by gladrators. When the poor fellows 
saw the Emperor approaching, they hailed him with " Ave, Im- 
perator, MORITURI te salutant ! " In English this means, " Hail, 
Caesar ! THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO DIE salute thee ! " The tyrant 
was so moved, or rather struck with this unexpected address, 
that before he had time to reflect he returned the salutation 
Avete vos ! " Fare ye well ! " This gracious reply, from the mouth 
of an Emperor, amounted to a pardon, and the gladiators, in 
consequence, refused to fight. But the monster soon returned 


to his natural ferocity, and after hesitating for a while whether he 
would destroy them all by fire and sword, he rose from his seat, 
and ran staggering along the banks of the lake, in the most dis 
gusting agitation, and at last, partly by exhortations and partly 
by threats, compelled them to fight. 1 Thus far Suetonius. 

Now, my dear sir, I put the question to you ; if the gladiators, 
instead of moritiiri, had said in English those who arc about or 
going to die ; would the Emperor even have hesitated for a mo 
ment, and would he not at once have ordered those men to fight 
on? In the word morituri t he. was struck at the first moment 
with the terrible idea of death placed in full front by means of the 
syllable MOR ; while the future termination ITURI with the accessory 
ideas that it involves was calculated to produce a feeling of tender 
compassion on his already powerfully agitated mind, and in fact 
did produce it, though it lasted only a short time. But if, instead 
of this rapid succession of strong images, he had been assailed 
at first with five insignificant words Those who are going 
to, foreseeing what was about to follow, he would have had 
time to make up his mind before the sentence had been quite 
pronounced, and I doubt much whether the gladiators would 
have been allowed time to finish it. In German, Diejenigen 
welche am sterben sind, would have produced much the same ef 
fect, from the length of the words dicjenigen and welche, which 
have no definite meaning, and could in no manner have affected 
the feelings of the tyrant Claudius. Ceux qid vont mourir, in 
French, is somewhat shorter, but in none of the modern lan 
guages do I find anything that operates on my mind like the 
terrible and pathetic moritiiri. May we not exclaim here with 
the great Gcethe : 0, cine Nation ist zu beneidcn, die so feme Schat- 
timngen in einem Worte auszudruecken wciss / "O, how a nation 
is to be envied, that can express such delicate shades of thought 
in one single word!" 2 

1 Quin et emissurus Fucinum lacum, naumachiam ante commisit. Sed cum proc- 
lamantibus naumachiariis " Ave, Imperator! morituri te salutant, " respondisset 
" Avete vos! " neque post hanc vocem, quasi venia data, quisquam dimicare vellet, 
diu cunctatus an omnes igni ferroque absumeret, tandem e sede sua prosiluit, ac per 
ambitum lacus, non sine foeda vacillatione discurrens, partim minando, partim ad- 
hortando, ad pugnam compulit. Sueton. in Claud. 21. 

2 Goethe, in Wilhelm Meister. 


I hope, indeed I do not doubt, that there is a similar word in 
the Delaware language ; if so, please to give it to me with a full 
explanation of its construction and meaning. 

I thank you very much for the valuable information you have 
given on the subject of the word "father ; " the distinction be 
tween wetochemuxit, and wetoochwink, appears to me beautiful, and 
Zeisberger seems to have perfectly understood it. When he 
makes use of the first of these words, he displays the " Father 
of Eternity" in all his glory; but when he says, " Behold what 
the Father has given us!" he employs the word wetoochwink t 
which conveys the idea of a natural father, the better to express 
the paternal tenderness of God for his children. These elegant 
shades of expression shew in a very forcible manner the beauty 
and copiousness of the Indian languages, and the extent and the 
force of that natural logic, of those powers of feeling and dis 
crimination, and of that innate sense of order, regularity and 
method which is possessed even by savage nations, and has pro 
duced such an admirable variety of modes of conveying human 
thoughts by means of the different organs and senses with which 
the Almighty has provided us. 

Will you be so good as to inform me whether the Delaware 
language admits of inversions similar or analogous to those of 
the Latin tongue ; and in what order words are in general placed 
before or after each other? Do you say " bread give me" or 
" give me bread" ? I am, &c. 



BETHLEHEM, 26th August, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. Your letter of the 2ist inst. has done me the 
greatest pleasure. I see that you enter the spirit of our Indian 
languages, and that your mind is struck with the beauty of their 
grammatical forms. I am not surprised to find that you admire 
so much wulamalessohalian^ it is really a fine expressive word ; 
but you must not think that it stands alone ; there are many 


others equally beautiful and equally expressive, and which are at 
the same time so formed as to please the ear. Such is eluwiwu- 
lik, a name which the Indians apply to Almighty God, and sig 
nifies " the most blessed, the most holy, the most excellent, the 
most precious." It is compounded of allowiwi, which signifies 
"more" and widik, the meaning of which has been fully ex 
plained in former letters. It is, as it were allowiwi wnlik ; the 
vowel a, in the first word being changed into e. By thus com 
pounding this word allowiwi with others the Delawares have 
formed a great number of denominations, by which they address 
or designate the Supreme Being, such are : 

lek, 1 ) 

. 2 > He who is above every thing} 



Eluwantowit, 4 God above all ; (" getannitowit " means God.) 

Eluwiahoalgussit, the beloved above all things. 

Elewassit, 5 the most powerful, the most majestic. 

Eluwitschanessik, the strongest of all. 

Eluwikschiechsit, the supremely good? 

Eluwilissit, the one above all others in goodness. 

I have no doubt you will admire these expressions ; our Mis 
sionaries found them of great use, and considered them as adding 
much to the solemnity of divine service, and calculated to pro 
mote and keep alive a deep sense of devotion to the Supreme 
Being. I entirely agree with you in your opinion of the superior 
beauty of compound terms ; the Indians understand very well 
how to make use of them, and a great part of the force and 
energy of their speeches is derived from that source : it is very 
difficult, I may even say impossible, to convey either in Ger 
man or English, the whole impressiveness of their discourses ; I 
have often attempted it without success. 

The word " morituri" which you cite from the Latin, affords a 

1 For " Eliwulek" read " Eluwilek." 

2 For "Allowilen " read " Allowilek." 

3 For the English translation of these two words substitute " the most extraordi 
nary, the most -wonderful." 

* For " Eluwantmuit" read " Eluwannittowit." 

5 For " Elewassit" read " Ele-wussit: 1 

For " the supremely good" read " the most holy one." 


very good argument in support of the position which you have 
taken. It is really very affecting, and I am not astonished at 
the effect which it produced upon the mind of the cruel emperor. 
We have a similar word in the Delaware language, " Elumiangella 
tschik" " those who are on the point of dying, or who are about 
to die." The first part of it, elumi, is derived from the verb 
n dallemi, which means " I am going about " (something). N dal- 
lemi mikemosi, "I am going to work," or "about to work." 
N dallemi wickheen, " I am going to build." N dallemi angeln, 
"I am about dying," or "going to die." The second member 
of the word, that is to say angel, comes from angeln, "to die; " 
angloagan, " death," angellopannik, " they are all dead." The 
remainder is a grammatical form ; atsch t indicates the future 
tense ; the last syllable z/, conveys the idea of the personal pro 
noun " they" Thus elumiangellatschik, like the Latin morituri^ 
expresses in one word " they or those who are going or about to 
die," and in German " Diejenigen welche am sterben sind" 

I am pleased to hear that you discover every day new beauties 
as you proceed with the study of the Indian languages, and the 
translation of Mr. Zeisberger s Grammar. You have, no doubt, 
taken notice of the reciprocal verb exemplified in the fifth conju 
gation, in the positive and negative forms by " ahoaltin" "to 
love each other." Permit me to point out to you the regularity 
of its structure, by merely conjugating one tense of it in the two 


Positive Form. 

N dahoaltineen, we love one another. 
K dahoaltihhimo, you love one another. 
Ahoaltowak, they love one another. 

Negative Form. 

Matta n dahoaltiwuneen, we do not love one another. 
Matta kdahoaltiwihhimo, you do not love one another. 
Matta ahoaltiwiwak, they do not love one another. 

You will find the whole verb conjugated in Zeisberger, there 
fore I shall not exemplify further. You see there is no singular 
voice in this verb, nor is it susceptible of it, as it never implies 
the act of a single person. In the negative form, " matta " or 


"-atta" is an adverb which signifies "no" or "not," and is 
always prefixed ; but it is not that alone which indicates the 
negative sense of the verb. It is also pointed out by wu or wi, 
which you find interwoven throughout the whole conjugation, 
the vowel immediately preceding being sometimes changed for 
the sake of sound, as from " aholtowak," " they love each other," 
is formed " ahoalt/wiwak," " they do not love each other." 

I will point out further, if you have not already observed it, 
what I am sure you will think a grammatical curiosity ; it is a 
concordance in tense of the adverb with the verb. Turn to the 
future of the same negative conjugation in Zeisberger, and you 
will find: 

Mattatsch n dahoaltiwuneen, we shall or will not love each other. 
Mattatsch k dahoaltiwihhimo, you 
Mattatsch ahoaltiwiwak, they 

I have said already that atsch or tsch is a termination which in 
the conjugation of verbs indicates the future tense. Sometimes 
it is attached to the verb, as in matta ktahoaliwitsch, " thou shalt 
or wilt not love me," but it may also be affixed to the adverb as 
you have seen above, by which means a variety is produced 
which adds much to the beauty and expressiveness of the 

You have asked me whether the Delaware language has 
inversions corresponding with those of the Latin? To this 
question, not being a Latin scholar, I am not competent to give 
an answer; I can only say that when the Indian is well or 
elegantly spoken, the words are so arranged that the prominent 
ideas stand in front of the discourse; but in familiar conversa 
tion a different order may sometimes be adopted. We say, in 
Delaware, Philadelphia epit, " Philadelphia at," and not, as in 
English, "at Philadelphia." We say "bread give me," and not 
"give me bread," because bread is the principal object with 
which the speaker means to strike the mind of his hearer. 

In the personal forms, or as you call them, transitions of the 
active verbs, the form expressive of the pronoun governed is 
sometimes placed in the beginning, as in k dahoatell, " I love 
thee," which is the same as thee I love ; for k (from ki), is the 


sign of the second person ; sometimes, however, the governing 
pronoun is placed in front, as in n dahoala, " I love him," ri being 
the sign of the first person, I. In these personal forms or 
transitions, one of the pronouns, governing or governed, is gen 
erally expressed by its proper sign, for " I " or " me," / for 
" thou " or " thee," and w* for " he or him ; " the other pronoun 
is expressed by an inflexion, as in k dahoalohhumo, I love you, 
K dahoalineen^ thou lovest us, k dahoalowak, thou lovest them. 
You may easily perceive that the governing pronoun is not 
always in the same relative place with the governed. 

That these and other forms of the verbs may be better under 
stood, it will not be amiss to say something here of the per 
sonal pronouns. They are of two kinds : separable and insep 
arable. The separable pronouns are these : 

Ni, /. 

Ki, thou. 

Neka, or nekama, he or she. 

Kiluna, we. 

Kiluwa, you. 

Nekamawa, they. 

There are other personal pronouns, which I believe to be 
peculiar to the Indian languages ; such are : 

Nepe, I also. 
Kepe, thou also. 
Nepena, or kepena, we also. 
Kepewo, you also. 
Kepoak, they also. 

The inseparable pronouns are n for the first person, k for the 
second, and w or o for the third, both in the singular and the 
plural. They are combined with substantives in the possessive 
forms, as in nooc/i, my father, kooch, thy father ; the third person 
is sometimes expressed by the termination wall, as ochwatt, his 
or her father, and at other times by w, as in wtamochol, his or 
her canoe. In the plural, nochena, our father, kochuwa, your father, 
ochuwawall, their father. 

The verbal transitions are compounded of the verb itself, com- 


bined with the inseparable pronouns and other forms or inflexions, 
expressive of time, person, and number. To understand these 
properly requires attention and study. 

These things are not new to you, but they may be of use to 
those members of the Committee who have not, like yourself, 
had the opportunity of studying a grammar of this language. 

I am, &c. 



BETHLEHEM, 2;th August, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I promised you in one of my former letters that 
I would write to a gentleman well acquainted with the Chippe- 
way language, to ascertain whether it is true, as Professor Vater 
asserts, that it is almost without any grammatical forms. I wrote 
in consequence to the Rev. Mr. Dencke, a respectable Mission 
ary of the Society of the United Brethren, who resides at Fair- 
field in Upper Canada, and I have the pleasure of communicating 
to you an extract from his answers to the different questions 
which my letter contained. 


I. "According to my humble opinion, and limited knowledge 
of the Indian languages, being chiefly acquainted with the Dela 
ware and Chippeway, of which alone I can speak with propriety, 
those two idioms are of one and the same grammatical structure, 
and rich in forms. I am inclined to believe that Mr. Duponceau 
is correct in his opinion that the American languages in general 
resemble each other in point of grammatical construction ; for I 
find in that of Greenland nearly the same inflections, prefixes, 
and suffixes, as in the Delaware and the Chippeway. The in 
flexions of nouns and conjugations of verbs are the same. The 
pronominal accusative is in the same manner incorporated with 
the verb, which, in this form, may be properly called transitive. 
See Crantz s History of Greenland, in German, page 283. These 


forms, though they are very regular, are most difficult for foreign 
ers to acquire. I might give examples of conjugations in the 
various forms, but as they have not been expressly called for, I 
do not think necessary to do it. 

" The Greenlanders, it seems, have three numbers in the con 
jugation of their verbs, the singular, dual, and plural ; the Dela- 
wares and Chippeways have also three, the singular, the par 
ticular, and the plural. For instance, in the Delaware language 
we say in the plural, k pendameneenj which means we all have 
heard ; and in the particular number we say, it pendameneen} 
we, who are now specially spoken of, (for instance, this com 
pany, the white people, the Indians,) have heard. Upon the 
whole, Crantz s History of Greenland has given me a great in 
sight into the construction of the Indian languages ; through his 
aid, I have been able to find out the so necessary infinitive of 
each particular verb. By means of the transitions, Indian verbs 
have nine or ten different infinitives, whence we must conclude 
that it is very difficult to learn the Indian languages. There is 
also a peculiarity in them, by means of the duplication of the 
first syllable, as gattopuinj to be hungry; gagattopuinl to be 
very hungry. 

2. " Carver s Vocabulary of the Chippeway, I believe is not 
correct, though I have it not at present before me. 

3. " The numerals in the Chippeway up to ten, are as follows. 
I write them according to the German orthography, i. Beschik. 
2. Nisch. 3. Nisswi. 4. Newin. 5. Nanan. 6. N guttiwaswi. 
7. Nischschwaswi. 8. Schwaschwi. 9. Schenk. 20. Quetsch." 

Thus far Mr. Dencke. I do not recollect whether I have 
already explained to you what he says about the "particular" 
number in the conjugation of the Delaware verbs. There is a 
distinction in the plural forms. " 1C pendameneen, (& from kiluna, 
we, ) means generally we have heard/ or we all have heard/ 
not intending to allude to a particular number of persons ; in 
it pendameneenj the comes from niluna} which means we, 
in particular, our family, nation, select body, &c. c Niluna yu 
epienk! we who are here assembled/ ripenameneen, (for niluna 
penameneen) we see (we who are together see) ; ri pendameneen. 


we hear (we who are in this room hear). But when no discrimi 
nation is intended to be made, the form kiluna, or its abridge 
ment tf is used. Kihma elenapewit, we, the Indians (meaning 
all the Indians) ; kiluna yu enda lauchsienk, we all that live upon 
earth ; k nemeneen sokelange] we see it rain, (we all see it rain) ; 
Knemeneen waselehelete , we all see the light, (we and all who live 
upon earth see the light.)" 

I believe Mr. Zeisberger does not mention this distinction in 
his Grammar ; but he could not say every thing. 1 am, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, 3oth August, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I thank you for your two favours of the 26th 
and 2/th inst. I am very much pleased to find from the valuable 
extract of Mr. Dencke s letter, which you have had the goodness 
to communicate, that the Chippeways have grammatical forms 
similar to those of the Delawares. Indeed, as far as my re 
searches have extended, I have found those forms in all the In 
dian languages from Greenland to Cape Horn. The venerable 
Eliot s Grammar shews that they exist in the idiom of the New 
England Indians, as he calls it, which is believed to be that of 
the Natick tribe. Crantz and Egede prove in the most incon 
trovertible manner that the language of Greenland is formed on 
the same syntactic or poly synthetic model. So are the various 
dialects of Mexico, as far as I can judge from the Grammars of 
those languages that are- in our Society s library. Indeed, the 
authors of those Grammars are the first who have noticed the 
personal forms of the Indian verbs, and given them the name of 
transitions. I find from Father Breton s Grammar and Dictionary 
of the Caribbee language, that those forms exist also in that 
idiom, and the Abbe Molina, in his excellent History of Chili, 
has shewn that the Araucanian belongs to the same class of lan 
guages. All the genuine specimens that we have seen of the 


grammatical forms of the Indians from north to south, on the 
continent, and in the islands, exhibit the same general features, 
and no exception whatever that I know of has yet been dis 
covered. Father Sagard s assertions about the Huron are not 
founded in fact, and are even disproved by the examples which 
he adduces, and Mr. Dencke s testimony is sufficient to counter 
balance the naked supposition of Professor Vater that the lan 
guage of the Chippeways has no forms. Too much praise can 
not be given to this learned author for the profound researches 
that he has made on the subject of American languages with a 
view to discover the origin of the ancient inhabitants of this 
continent, but not being on the spot, he had not the same means 
of ascertaining facts that we possess in this country. Had he 
lived among us, he would not so easily have been persuaded that 
there was such a difference between the different languages of 
the American Indians; that some of them were exceedingly rich 
in grammatical forms, and appeared to have been framed with 
the greatest skill, while others were so very poor in that respect 
that they might be compared to the idioms of the most savage 
nations in north-eastern Asia and Africa. 1 In Philology, as well 
as in every other science, authorities ought to be weighed, com 
pared, and examined, and no assertion should be lightly believed 
that is not supported by evident proof faithfully drawn from the 
original sources. 

I do not positively assert that all the languages of the Amer 
ican Indians are formed on the same grammatical construction, 
but I think I may safely advance that as far as our means of 
knowledge extend, they appear to be so, and that no proof 
has yet been adduced to the contrary. When we find so many 
different idioms, spoken by nations which reside at immense 
distances from each other, so entirely different in their etymol 
ogy that there is not the least appearance of a common deriva- 

1 Bey vielen Amerikanischen Sprachen finden wir theils einen so kunstlichen und 
zusammengesetzten bau, und einem so grossen reichthum an grammatischen formen, 
wie ihn selbst bey dem verbum wenige sprachen der Welt haben : theils scheinen 
sie so arm an aller grammatischen ausbildung, wie die sprachen der rohesten Volker 
in Nord-Ost-Asia und in Afrika seyn mogen. Untersuchungen tiber Amerika3 
bevolkenmg, S. 152. 


tion, yet so strikingly similar in their forms, that one would 
imagine the same mind presided over their original formation, 
we may well suppose that the similarity extends through the 
whole of the languages of this race of men, at least until we 
have clear and direct proof to the contrary. It is at any rate, 
a fact well worthy of investigation, and this point, if it should 
ever be settled, may throw considerable light on the origin of 
the primaeval inhabitants of this country. 

The most generally established opinion seems to be, that the 
Americans are descended from the Tartars who inhabit the north- 
easternmost parts of Asia. Would it not be then well worth the 
while to ascertain this fact by enquiring into the grammatical 
forms and construction of the languages of those people ? The 
great Empress Catharine employed a learned professor to com 
pile a comparative vocabulary of those languages which are 
spoken within the vast extent of the Russian Empire. This 
was but the first step towards a knowledge of the character 
and affinities of those idioms. If something may be discovered 
by the mere similarity of words, how much farther may not we 
proceed by studying and comparing the " plans of men s ideas," 
and the variety of modes by which they have contrived to give 
them body and shape through articulate sounds. This I con 
sider to be the most truly philosophical view of human language 
generally considered, and before we decide upon the Tartar ori 
gin of the American Indians, we ought, I think, to study the 
grammars of the Tartar languages, and ascertain whether their 
thoughts flow in the same course, and whether their languages 
are formed by similar associations of ideas, with those of their 
supposed descendants. If essential differences should be found 
between them in this respect, I do not see how the hypothesis 
of Tartar origin could afterwards be maintained. 

Professor Vater is of opinion that the language of the Canta- 
brians, whom we call Biscayans or Basques, a people who inhabit 
the sea coast at the foot of the Pyrenean mountains, is formed on 
the same model with that of the American Indians. We have in 
our Society s library, a translation into that idiom of Royau- 
mont s History of the Bible. I acknowledge, that by comparing 
it with the original, I have found sufficient reason to incline in 


favour of the Professor s assertion. This is a very curious fact, 
which well deserves to be inquired into. This Basque language, 
it is to be presumed, was once spoken in a considerable part of 
the ancient world, and probably branched out into various dia 
lects. How comes it that those polysynthetic forms which dis 
tinguish it, have disappeared from all the rest of the continent 
of Europe, and are only preserved in a single language no longer 
spoken but by a handful of mountaineers ? How comes it that 
the Celtic which appears no less ancient is so widely different in 
its grammatical construction ? Are we to revive the story of the 
Atlantis, and believe that the two continents of America and 
Europe were once connected together? At least, we will not 
forget that the Biscayans were once great navigators, and that 
they were among the first who frequented the coasts of New 

But let us leave these wild theories, and not lose sight of our 
object, which is to ascertain facts, and let others afterwards draw 
inferences from them at their pleasure. In Father Breton s Gram 
mar and Dictionary of the Caribbee language, I have been struck 
with a fact of a very singular nature. It seems (and indeed 
there appears no reason to entertain the least doubt on the sub 
ject) that in that idiom the language of the men and that of the 
women differ in a great degree from each other. This difference 
does not merely consist in the inflexions or terminations of 
words, but the words themselves, used by the different sexes, 
have no kind of resemblance. Thus the men call an enemy 
etoucou, and the women akani ; a friend in the masculine dia 
lect is ibaouanale, in the female nitignon. I might adduce a 
much greater number of examples to shew the difference be 
tween these two modes of speaking. It does not, however, 
pervade the whole language ; sometimes the termination of 
the words only differs, while in many cases the same words 
are used exactly alike by both sexes. But those which differ 
entirely in the two idioms are very numerous, and are in gen 
eral terms of common use, such as names of parts of the body, 
or of relationship as father, mother, brother, sister, and many 
others. It is said a tradition prevails in the Caribbee islands 
that their nation was once conquered by another people, who 


put all the males to death and preserved only the females, who 
retained their national language, and would not adopt that of 
the conquerors. I am not much disposed to believe this story ; 
the more so as I find similar instances in other idioms of differ 
ent words being employed by the men and women to express 
the same thing. Thus among the Othomis, (a Mexican tribe) 
the men call a brother-in-law naco, and the women namo ; a 
sister-in-law is called by the men nabehpo, and by the women 
namuddu. (Molina s Grammar of the Othomi language, p. 38.) 
In the Mexican proper, the men add an e to the vocative of 
every proper name, and say Pedroe for Pedro ; while the women 
leave out the e and distinguish the vocative only by an affected 
pronunciation. (Rincon s Mexican Grammar, p. 6.) It is said 
also that among the Javanese, there is a language for the nobles 
and another for the common people. 1 These are curious facts, 
and a discovery of their causes would lay open an interesting 
page of the great hidden book of the history of man. 

As I have determined to abstain from every hypothesis, I 
shall leave it to others to discover and point out the causes of 
these extraordinary facts ; but I shall be obliged to you for in 
forming me whether in any of the Indian languages that you 
know, there is any such difference of dialect between the two 
sexes, and in what it particularly consists. I cannot believe this 
story of the conquest of the Caribbee islands and of its producing 
that variety of language. I find it related by one Davis, an Eng 
lish writer, in whom I place no reliance ; for he has pretended to 
give a Vocabulary of the Caribbee language, which he has evi 
dently taken from Father Breton, without even taking the 
trouble of substituting the English for the French orthog 
raphy. Carver acted with more skill in this respect. 

I thank you for the explanation which you have given of what 
Mr. Dencke calls the "particular plural," of the Chippeway and 
Delaware languages, of which I had no idea, as Zeisberger 
does not make any mention of it. It appears to me that this 
numerical form of language (if I can so express myself,) is 

1 Among the Mbayas, a nation of Paraguay, it is said that young men and girls, 
before their marriage, speak a language differing in many respects from that of mar 
ried men and women. Azara, c. 10. 


founded in nature, and ought to have its place in a system of 
Universal Grammar. It is more natural than the Greek dual, 
which is too limited in its comprehension, while the particular 
plural expresses more, and may be limited in its application to 
two, when the context or the subject of the conversation requires 
it. I find this plural in several of the modern European lan 
guages ; it is the nosotros of the Spanish, the noi altri of the 
Italian, and the French nous autres. There is nothing like it in 
English or German, nor even in the Latin. I am disposed to 
believe that this form exists also in the Greenland language, and 
has been improperly called dual by those who have written on 
it. The Abbe Molina speaks also of a Dual in the Araucanian 
idiom, which he translates by we two. But he may have used a 
term generally known, to avoid the explanations which a new 
one would have required. However this may be, the particular 
plural is well worthy of notice. 

I shall be obliged to you for a translation of the Lord s prayer 
in the Delaware language, with proper explanations in English. 
I suspect that in Loskiel is not correct. 

In reading some time ago one of the Gospels, (I think St. 
Mark s,) in one of the Iroquois dialects, said to be translated by 
the celebrated chief Captain Brandt, I observed that the word 
town was translated into Indian by the word Kanada, and it 
struck me that the name of the province of Canada might prob 
ably have been derived from it. I have not been able to procure 
the book since, but I have now before me a translation of the 
English common prayer-book into the Mohawk, ascribed to the 
same chief, in which I find these words : " Ne KANADA-^W^/J kon- 
wayatsk Nazareth" which are the translation of " in a CITY 
called Nazareth," (Matth. ii. 23.) The termination gongh in this 
word appears evidently to be a grammatical form or inflexion, 
and Kanada is the word which answers for "city" I should be 
glad to know your opinion of this etymology. 

I find in Zeisberger s grammar, in the conjugation of one of 
the forms of the verb ripeton " I bring," ripetagep in one place, 
and in another ripetagunewoakup t both translated into German 
by " sie haben mir gebracht" " they have brought to me." Are 
these words synonyma, or is there some difference between them, 
and which ? I am, &c. 




BETHLEHEM, 5th September, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I have received your favour of the 3<Dth ult. I 
answer it first at the end, and begin with your etymology of the 
word Canada. In looking over some of Mr.Zeisberger s papers, 
who was well acquainted with the language of the Onondagoes, 
the principal dialect of the Iroquois, to which nation the Mo 
hawks belong, I find he translates the German word stadt (town) 
into the Onondago by " ganatage" Now, as you well know 
that the Germans sometimes employ the G instead of the K, and 
the T instead of the D, it is very possible that the word Kanada 
may mean the same thing in some grammatical form of the Mo 
hawk dialect. As you have seen it so employed in Captain 
Brandt s translation, there cannot be the least doubt about it. 
This being taken for granted, it is not improbable that you have 
hit upon the true etymology of the name Canada. For nothing 
is more certain than what Dr. Wistar once told you on my au 
thority, that the Indians make more use of particular than of 
generic words. I found myself under very great embarrassment 
in consequence of it when I first began to learn the Delaware 
language. I would point to a tree and ask the Indians how they 
called it; they would answer an oak, an ash, a maple, as the case 
might be, so that at last I found in my vocabulary more than a 
dozen words for the word tree. It was a good while before I 
found out, that when you asked of an Indian the name of a thing, 
he would always give you the specific and never the generic de 
nomination. So that it is highly probable that the Frenchman 
who first asked of the Indians in Canada the name of their coun 
try, pointing to the spot and to the objects which surrounded 
him, received for answer Kanada, (town or village), and commit 
ting the same mistake that I did, believed it to be the name of 
the whole region, and reported it so to his countrymen, who 
consequently gave to their newly acquired dominions the name 
of Canada. 


I had never heard before I received your letter that there ex 
isted a country where the men and the women spoke a different 
language from each other. It is not the case with the Delawares 
or any Indian nation that I am acquainted with. The two sexes 
with them speak exactly the same idiom. The women, indeed, 
have a kind of lisping or drawling accent, which comes from 
their being so constantly with children ; but the language which 
they speak does not differ in the least from that which is spoken 
by their husbands and brothers. 

The question you ask about ripetageep and rtpetagunewoakup, 
both of which Zeisberger translates by sie haben mir gebracht, is 
easily answered. The translation is correct in both cases, ac 
cording to the idiom of the German language, from which alone 
the ambiguity proceeds. N petageep means " they have brought 
to me," but in a general sense, and without specifying by whom 
the thing has been brought. Es ist mir gebracht warden, or " it 
has been brought to me," would have explained this word better, 
while ri petagunewoakup is literally rendered by " they" (alluding 
to particular persons,) " have brought to me," or sie haben mir 
gebracJit. You have here another example of the nicely discrim 
inating character of the Indian languages. 

I believe I have never told you that the Indians distinguish 
the genders, animate and inanimate, even in their verbs. Nol- 
hatton and nolhalla, both mean " I possess" but the former can 
only be used in speaking of the possession of things inanimate, 
and the latter of living creatures. NOLHATTON achquiwanissall, 
" I have or possess blankets ; " cheeli kcecu rinolhattowi, " many 
things I am possessed of," or " I possess many things ; " woak 
nechenaunges nolhallau, " and I possess a horse," (and a horse I 
possess.) The u which you see at the end of the verb nolhalla^ 
conveys the idea of the pronoun him, so that it is the same as if 
you said, " and a horse I possess him" It is the accusative 
form on which you observed in one of your former letters and 
is annexed to the verb instead of the noun. 

In the verb " to sec" the same distinction is made between 
things animate and inanimate. Newau, " I see," applies only to 
the former, and nemen to the latter. Thus the Delawares say : 
lenno newau, " I see a man;" tscholens newau, "I see a bird;" 


achgook newau, " I see a snake." On the contrary they say, 
wiquam i.emen, " I see a house ; " amochol nemen, " I see a ca 
noe," &c. 

It is the same with other verbs; even when they speak of 
things lying upon the ground, they distinguish between what has 
life and what is inanimate; thus they say, icka schingieschzVz * 
ridallemans " there lies my beast," (the verb schingieschin * being 
only used when speaking of animate things;) otherwise they will 
say : icka schingiesch^^ ritamahican, " yonder lies my ax." The 
i or the e in the last syllable of the verb, as here used in the 
third person, constitutes the difference, which indicates that the 
thing spoken of has or has not life. 

It would be too tedious to go through these differences in the 
various forms which the verb can assume; what I have said will 
be sufficient to shew the principle and the manner in which this 
distinction is made. 

I inclose a translation of the Lord s Prayer into Delaware, 
with the English interlined according to your wishes. I am, &c. 


Ki Thou 

Wetochemelenk our Father 

talli there 

epian dwelling 

Awossagame, beyond the clouds, 

Machelendasutsch magnified or praised be 

Ktellewunsowagan thy name 

Ksakimowagan thy kingdom 

peyewiketsch come on 

Ktelitehewagan thy thoughts, will, intention, mind, 

leketsch come to pass 

yun here 

Achquidhackamike upon or all over the earth, 

elgiqui the same 

leek as it is 

talli there 

1 For " schingieschin " read " schingiechin" 










n tschannauchsowagannena 






n pawuneen 

in heaven or beyond the clouds, 

give to us 

on or through this day 

the usual, daily 



forgive to us 

our transgressions (faults), 

the same as 

we (particular plural) we who 

are here 

we mutually forgive them, 
who or those 
who have transgressed or injured 

us (past participle) 
let not 

us come to that 


we fall into temptation; (ink 



but (rather) 


keep us free 




all evil 




thou claimest 

ksakimowagan 1 

thy kingdom 




the superior power 




all magnificence 



1 The k which is prefixed to this and the following substantives, conveys the idea 
of the pronoun thy ; it is a repetition (as it were) of the beginning of the phrase 
"for thine" &c., and enforces its meaning. Ksakimowagan, maybe thus dissected: 
k, thy, sakima, king or chief, wagan, substantive termination, added to king, makes 


wuntschi heretofore 

hallemiwi, ever (always) 

Nanne leketsch. Amen, (so be it ; so may it 

come to pass.) 



PHILADELPHIA, ist October, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. Various professional avocations have prevented 
me from answering sooner your kind letter of the 5th ult. I 
thank you for the Delaware translation of the Lord s prayer ; it 
does not differ much from that in Loskiel, but the English ex 
planations which you have given add greatly to its value. 

The information which your letter contains on the subject of 
the annexation to the verb of the form or inflexion indicative 
of the gender, is quite new to me. Though I was already ac 
quainted with the principle on which this takes place, I was 
not fully aware of the extent of its application. We have already 
noticed and remarked upon the combination of the pronominal 
form with the active verb 1 in " getannitowit riquitayala, I fear 
God ; " in which the pronoun him is expressed by the last sylla 
ble ala or yala, so that it is the same as if you said " God I fear 
him" in Latin Deus timeo eum, and by contraction, Deus timeum. 
With this it is not difficult to pursue the same course or "plan 
of ideas," by connecting not only the subject pronoun, but its 
gender, animate, or inanimate, with the verbal form. The idea 
of the sexes, if the language admitted of it, might be expressed 
in the same manner. Thus also Latin words might be com 
pounded on the Delaware plan. If I wished to express in that 
manner "7 see a lion" I would say leo video eum, and by contrac 
tion videum ; and if the object was of the feminine gender, I 
would say videam, for video earn. The difference between the 
Latin and the Delaware is that in the former the ideas of the 

1 See Letters 8 and 10. 


pronoun and its gender are expressed by a nominal and in the 
latter by a verbal form. I consider leonem video, as a contraction 
of Ico cum video ; the n being interposed between leo and eum, 
and the u in eum left out for euphony s sake. In the same man- 
ner fceminam appears to me to be contracted fromf&mina earn; 1 
whence we may, perhaps, conclude that in the formation of dif 
ferent languages, the same ideas have occurred to the minds of 
those who framed them ; but have been differently combined, 
and consequently differently expressed. Who would have 
thought that the barbarous idioms of the American savages 
could have thrown light on the original formation of the noble 
and elegant language of ancient Rome ? Does not this very 
clearly shew that nothing is indifferent in science, and above all, 
that we ought by no. means to despise what we do not know ? 

I thought we had exhausted all the verbal forms of the Dela 
ware language, when I accidentally fell upon one which Zeis- 
berger has not mentioned in his grammar, but of which he gives 
an example in his vocabulary or spelling-book. It is a curious 
combination of the relative pronoun "what" or "that which" 
with an active verb, regularly conjugated through the several 
transitions or personal forms. The author thus conjugates the 
present of the indicative. 


Singular. Plural. 

Elan, what I tell thee, ellek, what I tell you, 

elak, what I tell him. elachgup, what I tell them. 


Singular. Plural. 

Eliyan, what thou tellest me, eliyenk, what thou tellest tts, 

elan, what thou tellest him. elachtup, what thou tellest them. 

1 M. Raynouard, in his excellent Researches on the Origin and Formation of the 
corrupted Roman Language, spoken before the year 1000, has sufficiently proved 
that the French articles /<?, the Spanish el, and the Italian il, are derived from the 
Latin demonstrative pronoun ille, which began about the sixth century to be prefixed 
to the substantive. Thus they said: ILLI Saxones, " THE Saxons ;" ILLI negocia- 
tores de Longobardia, " THE Lombard merchants," &c. So natural is the use of the 
pronominal form to give clearness and precision to language. Recherches, &c., p. 39. 



Singular. Plural. 

Elit, what he tells me, elquenk, what he tells us, 

elquon, what he tells thee, elquek, what he tells you, 

elat, elguk, what he tells him. elatup, elatscbi, what he tells them. 


Singular. Plural. 

Elenk, what we tell you, ellek, what we tell you, 

elank, what we tell him. elanquik, what we tell them. 


Singular. Plural. 

Eliyek, what you tell me, eliyenkup, what you tell us, 

elatup, what you tell him. elaachtitup, what you tell them. 


Singular. Plural. 

Elink, what they tell me, elgeyenk, what they tell us, 

elquonnik, what they tell thee, elgeyek, what they tell you, 

elaachtit, what they tell him. elatschik, what they tell us. 

Thus I have given myself the pleasure of transcribing this 
single tense of one of the moods of this beautiful verb, which I 
find is used also in the sense of * as I tell thee" &c., and is a 
striking example of the astonishing powers of this part of speech 
in the Delaware language. Can you tell me where those powers 
end ? Is there anything which a Delaware verb will not ex 
press in some form or other? I am no longer astonished to 
find that Mr. Zeisberger has not displayed in his grammar all 
the richness of this idiom. A single verb, with its various forms 
and transitions, would almost fill a volume, and there are no less 
than eight conjugations, all of which were to be explained and 
illustrated by examples ! 

But it is not in the verbs alone that consist the beauties of this 
language. The other parts of speech also claim our attention. 
There I find, as well as in the verbs, forms and combinations of 
which I had not before conceived an idea. For instance, Zeis 
berger tells us that there are nouns substantive in the Delaware 
which have a passive mood ! Strange as this may appear to 
those who are unacquainted with Indian forms, it is nevertheless 


a fact which cannot be denied ; for our author gives us several 
examples of this passive noun, all ending with the substantive 
termination wagan, which, as you have informed me, corresponds 
with the English ness, in " happiness," and the German heit or 
keit, in the numerous words ending with these syllables. Per 
mit me to select some of the examples given by Zeisberger. 

Machelemuxowagan, honour, the being honoured. 
Gettemagelemuxowagan, the receiving favour, mercy, tenderness. 
Mamschalgussiwagan, 1 the being held in remembrance. 
Witahemgussowagan, the being assisted or helped. 
Mamintochimgussowagan, 2 the being esteemed. 
Wulakenimgussowagan, the being praised. 
Machelemoachgenimgussowagan, the receiving honour and 

Amangachgenimgussowagan, the being raised or elevated by 


Schingalgussowagan, the being hated. 
Mamachtschimgusso wagan, the being insulted. 

You will, I am afraid, be disposed to think that we have 
changed places, and that I- am presuming to give you in 
struction in the Delaware language; but I am only repeating 
to you the lessons that I have learned from Zeisberger, to 
save you the trouble of explaining what I can obtain from 
another source ; to be corrected, if I have committed mistakes, 
and to receive from you the information which my author does 
not give. Besides, as our correspondence is intended for the 
use of the Historical Committee, my occasional extracts from 
Zeisberger, and the observations to which they give rise, are ad 
dressed to them as well as to you, and under your correction, may 
contribute to give them a clearer idea of the forms of the Indian 
languages. Our letters thus form a kind of epistolary confer 
ence between the scholar and his master, held before a learned 
body, who profit even by the ignorance of the student, as it 
draws fuller and more luminous explanations from the teacher. 

1 For " Mamschalgussiwagan " read " Mamschalgussoiuagan" 

2 For "Mamintochimgussowagan read "Mamintsckimgussowagan" 


Had I proceeded otherwise, your task would have been much 
more laborious and troublesome, and it would have been un 
generous to have exacted it from you. 

In this manner I have relieved you from the trouble of ex 
plaining the passive substantives of Zeisberger, unless I should 
have mistaken his meaning, in which case, you will, of course, 
set me right. But this author does not tell us whether there 
are on the other hand active substantives, such as "the honour 
ing" "the favouring" "the remembering" "the praising" "the 
insulting" "the hating." Here I beg you will be so good as to 
supply his deficiency, and explain what he has left unexplained. 

I find also that there are diminutive words in the Delaware, 
as in the Italian, such as lennotit, a little man, (from lenno] ; ame- 
mentit, a little child, (from amemens) ; wiquames, a little house, 
(from wiqnam), &c. Pray, are there also augmentatives ? Is 
there any difference between the diminutive terminations tit 
and es, and what is it ? 

I have been told that you intend soon to visit Philadelphia; 
I shall rejoice to find it true, and to form a personal acquaint 
ance with you, which, I hope, will produce a lasting friendship. 

I am, &c. 



BETHLEHEM, loth October, 1816. 

DEAR SIR. I have hesitated whether I should answer your 
favour of the 1st inst, being very soon to set out for Philadel 
phia, where I shall be able to explain to you verbally every 
thing that you wish to know in a much better manner than I 
can do in writing. As there are, however, but few questions 
in your letter, and those easily answered, I sit down to satisfy 
your enquiry, which will for the present close our correspond 
ence. If you think proper to resume it after my return to this 
place, you will find me as ready as ever to continue our Indian 


In the first place, it cannot, I think, properly be said that sub 
stantives in general in the Delaware language have a passive 
mood ; but there are substantives which express a passive situa 
tion, like those which you have cited, after Mr. Zeisberger. I 
do not know of any words which express the same thing actively, 
except the infinitives of active verbs, which are in that case sub- 
stantively used. Such are, 

Shingalgundin, to hate ; or the hating. 
Machelemuxundin, to honour ; or the honouring. 
Mamachkimgundin, to insult (by words) ; or the insulting. 

The diminutive forms in the Indian are tit and es ; the former 
is generally applied to animate, and the latter to inanimate 
things. Thus we say lennotit, a little man ; amementit, a little 
child ; wiqpiames t a small house ; and amocholes^ a small canoe. 
This rule does not hold, however, in all cases ; for the little fawn 
of a deer, although animate, is called mamalis y and a little dog 
among the Minsi is called allumes, (from alhtm, a dog.) Chis or 
c/ies, is also a diminutive termination, which is sometimes applied 
to beasts; achtochis and achtoches, "a small deer." 

Augmentatives are compounded from the word chingue % which 
signifies large ; and sometimes the two words are separately 

Chingue, or m chingue puschis, a large cat. 
Chingewileno (for chingue lenno), a tall stout man. 
Chingotaeney (for chingue otceney), a large town. 
Chingi wiquam, a large house. 
Chingamochol, a large canoe. 
Chingachgook, a large snake, &c. 

There are a few augmentatives formed in a different manner; 
for instance, from pachkshican or kshican, " a knife," are formed 
pachkschicanes, "a small knife," and m chonschicanes^ "a large 
knife ;" still it is easy to see that m chon, in the latter word, is 
derived from chingue, large or great, which, with a little variation, 
brings it within the same rule with the others. 

1 For ft M t ckonschictine$** read " M* chonschican" 


You have, no doubt, observed in Zeisberger the terminations 
ink and unk, which express the idea of locality, coupled with a 
substantive, as for instance : 

Utenink, or otsenink,/nw* otseney, a town ; in the town. 
Utenink n da, I am going to town, or into the town. 
Utenink noom, I am coming from within the town. 
Sipunk, (from sipo) to or into the river. 
M bink, (from m bi) in the water. 
Hakink, (from hacki) in or on the earth. 
Awossagamewunk, (from awossageme), in heaven. 
Wachtschunk n da, I am going up the hill. 
Wachtschunk noom, I come from the hill. 
Hitgunk, on or to the tree. 
Ochunk, at his father s. 

As you must have observed that many of our Indian names 
of places end with one or other of these terminations, such as 
Mjnisink, Moyamensing, Passyunk, &c., you will understand that 
all these names are in what we might call the local case, which 
accounts for the great number of those which end in this manner. 

I beg you will not write to me any more for the present, as I 
do not know how soon I may have the pleasure of seeing you. 
I anticipate great satisfaction from your acquaintance, and hope 
it will be improved into a true Indian friendship. I am, &c. 



PAGE 352, LINE II For Zeisberger" read "Heckewelder" 
359, 24 (of letter vi.) For "from " read "for." 

362, 15 For " schawandki " read " schwanameki" 

16 For " chwani" read ft ckwami" 

383, i (from the bottom) For " k lehelleya " read " k lehellecheya." 

386, 21 For " wulatopnachgat" read " wulaptonachgat" 

23 For " wulatonamin " read " wulatcnamin" 
392, 27 (of letter xvii.) For " manner" read " matter" 

397> 6 and 7 For " achpansi " read " achpanschi" 

401, 26 For f< Indian corn " read " a particular species of Indian corn" 

404, 8 For " ktahoatell" read " ktahoalell" 

18 For " gunich" read "gunih." 
410, 12 For " eliwulek " read " eluwilek." 

13 For allowilen " read " allowilek" For the English transla 

tion of these two words, substitute " //fo z0.r/ extraordinary, 
the most wonderful" 

14 For " eluivantowit " read " eluwannitowit" 
1 6 For "elewassit" read " elewussit" 

1 8 For " ^^ supremely good" read " //^^ ww/ ^c>/^ 0<?." 
424, 6 and 7 For "schingieschin " read " schingiechin." 

429, 9 For " mamschalgussiwagan " read " mamschalgussowagan" 

II For " mamintochimgussowagan " read " mamintschimgusso- 


431, 4 (from the bottom) For " m chonschicanes " read "m chon- 



PAGE 323, LINE 34 For " Indians " read " traders" 

28 433 










N mitzi, I eat. 
N gauwi, I drink. 
N wachpacheli, I awake. 
N menne, I drink. 
N papommissi, I walk. 
N gagelicksi, I laugh. 
N mamentschi, I rejoice. 
N daschwil, I swim. 
N manunxi, I am angry. 
N mikem6si, I work. 
N dellachgusi, I climb. 
N nanipauwi, I stand. 
N lemattachpi, I sit. 
Nopo, nochpo, n hoppo, I smoke. 
N schiwelendam, I am sorry. 
N gattopui, I am hungry. 
N gatt6somi, I am thirsty. 
N palsi, I am sick. 
Nolamalsi, I am well. 
N nipitine, I have the tooth-ache. 
N wiline, I have a head-ache. 
N wischasi, I am afraid. 
N wiquihhalla, / am tired. 
N tschittanesi, / am strong. 
N schawussi, I am weak, feeble. 
N tuppocu, I am wise. 
N nan6lhand, I am lazy. 

N pom6chksi, I creep. 
N dellemuske, I am going away. 
N gattungwan, / am sleepy. 
Otenink n da, I am going to town. 
Gel6ltowak, they are quarrelling. 
K daholel, I love you. 
Kschingalel, I hate you. 
Ponihi, let me alone. 
Palli aal, go away. 
G6tschemunk, go out of the house. 
Ickalli aal, away with you. 
Kschamehella, run. 
Ne nipauwi, stop there. 
Undach aal, come here. 
Kpahi, shut the door. 
Tauwunni, open the door, lid, &c. 
Pisellissu, soft. 

Pisalatulpe, soft-shelled tortoise. 
Kulupatschi, otherwise, on the other hand, 
else, however. 

Nahaliwi, \ 
Eiyeliwi, j 

both (of them.) 

Leu, true. 

Attane, lewi, it is not true. 
Alia gaski lewi, it cannot be true. 
Bischi, bischihk,j^, indeed, (it is so.) 
N wingallauwi, I like to hunt. 



N winggi mikem6si, I like to work. 
N schingi mikem6si, I don t like to work. 
M winginammen, / like it. 
N wingandatnmen, I like the taste (of it). 
N wingachpihn, I like to be here. 
N schingachpihn, I dislike being here. 
N mechquihn, I have a cold, cough. 
Undach lenni, reach it hither. 
Undach I6nnemauwil, reach it to me. 
N gatt6pui, I am hungry. 
N gattosomi, I am thirsty. 
N wiquihilla, I am tired, fatig^^ed. 
N tschitannessi, I am strong. 
N schauwihilla, I am weak, faint. 
N wischasi, I am afraid. 
N daptssi, I sweat. 
N dagotschi, I am cold, freezing. 
N dellenn6wi, I am a man. 
N dochquewi, I am a woman. 
N damandommen, I feel. 
N leheleche, I live, exist, draw breath. 
L6cheen, to exist, breathe, draw breath, be 

Lech6won, breath. 

Note. As we would ask a person whom 
we had not seen for a long time : 
"Are you alive yet?" or, is such 
and such a one yet alive ? the In 
dian would say : 

Hi kleheleche ? do you draw bteath yet ? 
Leheleche Hi nitis, N. N. ? does my fa 
vourite friend N. N. yet draw breath ? 
Gooch ili lehelecheu ? does your father 

draw breath yet ? 

Gahawees ili lehelecheu ? does your 
mother draw breath- yet ? 

N tschu ! my friend. 

N tschutti, dear, beloved friend. 

Nitis, confidential friend. 

Geptschat, a fool. 

Geptschatschik, fools. 

Lepp6at, wise. 

Leppoeu, hi is wise. 

Leppoatschik, wise men, wise people. 

S6kelaan, it rains. 

K schilaan, it rains hard. 

Pelelaan, it begins to rain. 

Achwi s6kelaan, it rains very hard. 

Alia s6kelaan, it has left off raining. 
Peelhacquon, it thunders. 
sasapelehelleu, it lightens. 
Petaquiechen, the streams are rising. 
M chaquiechen, the streams are up, high. 
Choppcat, the water is deep. 
Meetschi higihelleu, the waters are fall 
Sichilleu meStschi, the waters have run 


Tatehuppecat, shallow water. 
ahan, very low water, next to being dried 

K schuppehelleu, a strong current, riffle. 
Pulpecat, deep dead water, as in a cove or 

Clampeching, a dead running stream, the 

current imperceptible. 
Kschachan, the wind. 
Ta undchen ? from whence blows the 

wind ? 
Lowanneunk undchen, the wind comes 

from the north. 
Schawanneunk undchen, the wind comes 

from the south. 
Schawanachen, south wind. 
Lowannachen, north wind. 
Wundchenneunk, in the west. 
Gachpatteyeunk, in the east. 
Moschhaquot, a clear sky. 
Kschiechpecat, clear water, clear, pure 


Achgumh6cquat, cloudy. 
Packenum, dark, (very.) 
Pekenink, in the dark. 
Pisgeu, it is dark. 

Pisgeke, when it becomes dark, (is dark.) 
Mah ! there, take it ! 
Yuni, this. 
Nanni, nan, that. 
Wullih, yonder. 
Wachelemi, afar off. 
Wachelemat ? is it afar off, a great way 


Pechuat, near, nigh. 
Pechuwiwi, near, (not far off.) 
Pechutschi, near. 
Pechu lennitti, directly , presently . 



Pechu, soon, directly. 
Alige, if so, nevertheless. 
Alige n dallemusca, / will go for all, nev 
ertheless I will go. 

Yu undachqui ! this way, to this side ! 
Icka undachqui, to yon side. 
Ickalli undachqui ! still further on that 

way ! 

Wullih! yonder! 
Wullih tah! beyond that ! 
Penn6 wullih ! look yonder ! 
Nachgiechen, it has hit against something, 

(cannot move or be driven forward, ) as 

a joist, a pin in a building. 
Clagachen, it rests on something in the 

water, is grounded. 
Clagachen am6chol, the canoe is aground, 

rests on something. 
Clagachen aschwitchan, the raft has 


Tauwihilla, sunk, it has sunk. 
N damochol k tauwihille, my canoe simk. 
Gachpattol amochol, take the canoe out of 

the water. 
Gachpallatam, let us get otit and go on 


Pusik ! embark! (ye.) 
Pusil ! embark ! (thou.) 
Wischiksil ! be thou vigilant, quick, in 

earnest and exert thyself! 
Wischiksik ! be ye vigilant, in earnest, 

qttick ! (about it.) 

Note. The word wischiksi or wisch- 
ixi is by the white people interpreted 
as signifying " be strong" which does 
not convey the true meaning of this 
word : it comprehends more ; it asks 
for exertions to be made, to fulfil the 

N petalogalgun ! / am sent as a messen 
ger ! 
N sagimaum petalogalgun yu petschi, my 

chief has sent me as a messenger to you. 
Malta nutschquem pawi, I am not come for 

nothing, (meaning, being on an errand.) 
Pechu k pendammenewo wentsche pay- 

an, you will soon hear why I am come 


Tschingetsch kmatschi ? when do yozt re 
turn home again ? 

Se dpook ! at day break ! 

N dellgun lachpi gatta paame, I was told 
to hasten, and return quickly. 

Lachpi, quick, (without delay.) 

N mauwi pihm, / am going to take a 
sweat (at the sweat house). 

N dapi pihm, / am come from sweating 
(from the sweat house). 

N dapellauwi, I am come from hunting. 

N dapi notamsesi, / come from taking fish / 
with the spear. 

N dapi a man, / come from fishing with 
the hook and line. 

N dapi achquaneman, I come from bush- 
net fishing. 

Notameshican, ajishing spear, gig. 

Aman, a Jish hook. 

Achquaneman, a bitsh net. 

Apatschiane, when I return 

Gophammen, "| to shut up anything close, 

K pahammen, j a door, &c. 

Kpahi, shut the door. 

Kpaskhamen, to plug up tight. 

Tauwun, open the door. 

Tauwunni, open the door for me. 

M biak, a whale, (fish.) 

Yuh allauwitan ! come, let us go a hunt 
ing ! 

Nelema n metenaxiwi, I am not yet ready. 

K metenaxi yucke? are you now ready ? 

Nelema ta! not yet ! 

Pechu lenitti, by and by. 

Lahappa pehil ! wait a little for me ! 

Nelema n gischambila niwash ! / have 
not yet done tying up my pack ! 

Yuh yehiicke allemusketam ! well now 
let us go on ! 

Schuck sokelaan gachtauwi ! but it will 
rain ! 

Quanna ta ! even if it does, no matter if it 
does ! 

Alia kschilange, when the shower is over. 

Ta hatsch gemauwikeneen ? at what 
place shall we encamp ? 

Wdiungoakhannink, at the white oak 



Enda gochgochgachen, at the crossing, 
for ding-place. 

Enda tachtschaunge, at the narrows, 

(where the hill comes close on the 


Meechek achsinik, at the big rock. 
Gauwahenink, at the place of the fallen 


Sikheunk, at the salt spring. 
Pachseyink, in the valley. 
Wachtschunk, on the hill. 
Yapewi, on the river bank. 
Gamink, on the other side of the river. 
Eli shingeek, on the fiat, (level upland.) 
Mah6nink, at the lick, (deer lick.) 
Otenink, in the town. 
Te"kenink, in the woods. 
Hachkihacanink, in the field. 
Pockhapockink, at the creek between the 

two hills. 

Menatheink, on the island. 
Enda lechauhanne, at the forks of the 

Enda lechauwiechen, at the forks of the 

Sakunk, at the outlet of the river, (mouth 

of the river.) 

T huppecunk, at the cold spring. 
K mesha? did you kill a deer? 
Atta, n palle ha! no, I missed him ! 
Yuh allacqui ! what a pity ! 
Biesch knewa ? then you did see one ? 
Nachen n newa achuch,///r^ times I savv 

Quonna eet kpungum machtit, perhaps 

your powder is bad. 

Na leu, that is true, so it turned out to be. 
Achtschingi pockteu, it scarcely took fire. 
Achtuchuike we rnan? are there plenty of 

deer where you was? 
Atta ta husca, not a great many. 
Nangutti schuck n peenhalle, I saw but 

few tracks. 
Machk kpenhalle ? did you track any 

bears ? 
Biesch n penhalle mauchsu, I tracked but 

Schuck n dallemons mekane, but my dog. 

Palli uchschiha, drove him off. 

N gatta amoch6lhe, / want to make a 


Witschemil ! help me ! 
N pachkamen gachtauwi, / want to get 


Yuh, nanne leketsch, well do so, let it be so. 
N matamalsi, I feel unwell. 
Woak n nipitine, and have the tooth-ache. 
Witschemil ! help me ! 
Ponihil, let me alone. 
Tschitgussil ! be still, hold your tongue! 
Kschahel ! strike hard, lay on well ! (on 

wood, &c.) 

Mileen, to give, the giving. 
Mil, give. 
Mili, give me. 
Milineen, give us. 
Miltin, given, (was already.) 
Miltoagan, a present. 
N milgun, it was given to me. 
Milo, give him. 
Milatamo, let us give him. 
Sehe! hush, be quiet ! 
Elke ! O dear, wonderful! 
Ekesa ! miserable, for shame ! 
Suppinquall, tears. 
Lepacku, he cries. 
E gohan, yes, indeed. 
Kehella, aye, yes. 
Kehella ? so, is it possible ? 
Kehella la ! O yes, so it is ! 
Yuh kehella ! well, then ! 
La kella ! to be szire, / is so ! 
Kehella kella ! yes, yes ! 
E-E, yes, (a lazy yes.) 
Malta, no. 
Ta, no, (a lazy no.) 
Tagii, no, not. 
Atta ta, no, no. 
Eekhockewitschik mamachtag^wak, the 

nations are warring against each other. 
Yuh allacqui na lissichtit, indeed it is a 

pity they do so. 
Napenaltowaktsche, they will be scalping 

each other. 
Auween won gintsch pat ? who is thai 

zuhojttst now came? 



Taktaani, I don t know. 

Mauwi penn6, go and see. 

Auween khackev? who are you? (of what 

Lennape n hackey, / am an Indian, (of 

the Lenni Lenape.) 
Ta koom? where do you come from? 
Ote nink noom, I come from the town. 
Auween kpetschi, witscheuchgun ? who 

came with you here ? 
Na nipauwit, he who stands there. 
Lennape? is he an Indian? ( a Lenni 

Tah, Mengwe, no, he is a Mingo, an Iro- 

Kpetschi witscheuchgun otenink untschi ? 

did he come with you from the town ? 
Malta! n mattelukgun, no! he fell in with 

me (by the way). 
Ta talli ? where ? 
Wulli tah achtschaunge ! yonder at the 

narrows ! 

Ki gieschquike? this day ? (to-day.) 
Atta! welaquike, no ! last evening. 
Kcecu undochwe wentschi yu paat? what 

is he come here for, what is he after ? 
Taktani, schuck n tschupinawe ! I don t 

know, but I mistrust him ! 
Tcshpinaxu gahenna, he appears suspi 
cious, has a suspicious appearance. 
Gichgemotket quonna, probably he is a 


Wewitschi eet, most likely, (he is such.) 
N gemotemuke n dallemons nechnaun- 

ges, my horse has been stolen from 

Wichwinggi gemotgewak Menge,/>#<? Min~ 

goes are very fond of stealing. 
Yuh amachgidieu, they are vagabonds. 
Gachtingetsch, next year. 
Lehelechejane, Jf I live, (or am alive.) 
Gamhackinktsch n da, I will go across the 

sea, (or more properly) to the country 

beyond the sea. 
Clamachphil ! sit still! 
Schiki a na Lenno, that is a fine, pretty 

Quatsch luppackhan ? why do you cry ? 

N nilchgun na nipauwit, he that stands 

there struck me. 
Uchschimo meetschi, he has already ran 

off, made, away with himself. 
T chunno ! catch him ! 
Gachbilau ! tie him ! 
Lachdnau ! let him loose ! 
Weemi, or wemi auween lue, everybody 

Wigwingi gelolt6ak schwannakwak, that 

the white people are fond of quarrelling. 
N matunguam, I had a bad dream. 
N matschi, I will go home. 
Siquonne lappitsch knewi lehellecheyan ! 

in the spring you will see me again if 

I am alive ! 

Yuh, schuck mamschali ! well, biit do re 
member me ! 

Natsch leu, it shall be so, that shall be done. 
N nuntschimke, I have been called. 
Auween guntschimgun ? who called you ? 
N dochqueum, my wife. 
N nitsch undach aal ! come hither my 


Lachpi ! quick ! 

Nayu nipauwi (or nipawi), there stand. 
Pell ah, indeed, surely, so so. 
Petalamo auween, somebody sounds (calls 

out) the alarm yell, (signifying dangei 

at hand.) 

Yuh, shimoftam ! come, let us run off I 
Nelema ta? not yet ! 
Quanna eet auween gatta napenalgun ! 

perhaps somebody is coming to attack 

and scalp us ! 

Wewitschi ztf., probably, may-be. 
Pennau ! look ! 

Wulli ta pepannik ! yonder they are com 
ing ! 

Auween knewa? who do you see? 
Machelook, or chelook schwannakwak, 

many white people. 
Papomiscuak ? are they on foot ? 
Alende, some of them. 
Schuk matta weemi, bttt not all of them. 
Gachtonalukguntsch matta uchschimui- 

6nge, we shall be attacked if we do not 

make off with ourselves. 



Yuh, uchschimuitam alige, well then, let 
us make off at any rate. 

Mattapewiwak nik schwannakwak, the 
"white people are a rascally set of be 

Kilun6wak wingi, they are giving to ly 

Kschinggalguna gehenna, they hate us 

Gemotemukguna wingi, they like, are dis 
posed to rob us, are thieves upon ^ls. 

Yuh, gachtonalatam ! well, let us fall up 
on them, attack them. 

Longundowinaquot, it looks likely for 
peace, there is a prospect of peace. 

Pennau won ! look at that one ! 
Achgieuchsu, he is drunk. 
Achgepingwe, he is blind. 
Achg6pcheu, he is deaf. 
Kpitscheu, he is foolish. 
S6psu, he is naked. 
Mamanunxu, he is angry. 
Schaaksu, he is covetotis. 
Pihmt6nheu, he has a crooked mouth. 
Ilau, he is a great war -captain. 
Sakimau, he is a chief. 
Kschamehellatam, let us run together. 
Tipaas, a hen. Tipatit, a chicken. 
Tsch6lens, a bird. Tscholentit, a little 


XI Abenakis, a name of the Lenape, 

xliii., 121, 123, 126. 
Acadia, inhabited by the Souriqttois, etc., 


Achsinning, 184. 

Achtschingi clammui, 199. 

Adair, James I., 126. 

Adehmg s MitJiridates, 124. 

Ahouandate or Wyandots, xliv. 

Albany, xxx., xxxi., 6l. 

Albany River, the, 120. 

Algonquins, the, 95; language, 1 21, 122, 

123, 124. 

Allegheny River, the, 84, 294. 
Alligewi or Allegheny, the, 48, 53, 126. 
Alligewi Sipu, the Allegheny River, 48. 
Anderson, John, a Quaker trader, 241 

et seq. 

Apalaches or Wapanachkis, the, 126. 
Apalachian nation, the, 126. 
Aquanoshioni, national name of the Six 

Nation Indians, 96, 97, 98. 
Arundel and Robbins, Messrs., 173- 
Assiniboils or Sioux, the, 119, 123. 
Assinipoetuk, the, 119. 
Aubrey, Lsetitia, 336. 

-D Barton s New Views, 121, 122, 126. 
Bear, the naked, 255. 
Belts of Wampum, 109. 
Benezet, John Stephen, xxx. 
Bethlehem, xxx.; Indians at, 85, 90, 

91.. 92, 251,332. 
Beverwyck, xxxi. 
Big Beaver River, 190, 196. 
Blackfoot Indians, 1 21. 
Boudinot, Elias, 331. 

Brodhead, General Daniel, 70, 237. 
Butterfield s Crawford s Campaign 
against Sandusky referred to, 284. 

pALHOON, THOMAS, an Indian 

^ trader, 270. 

Canada, xxxvi., 56, 85, 93, 120, 121, 126, 


Canai or Kanhawas, the, xliv., 90, 122. 

Canajoharie, xxxi. 

Canaways, the, xliv. 

Canawese, the, xliv. 

Canibas, the, 121. 

Carolina, xxxii., xxxvii. 

Carolina, North, 122. 

Carver, Captain Jonathan, 1 19 ; his " Three 
Years 1 Travel through the interior 
parts of North- America^ ibid.; 268, 
322; quoted, 324, 339. 

Catawbas, the, 126. 

Cayahaga, Delaware preacher at, 291. 

Cayahaga River, 85. , 

Cayugas, the, 96, 99. 

Chaktawas, the, 126. 

Chapman, Abraham, and John, 67. 

Chapman, a Jew trader, 257. 

Chaquaquock, Indian name for the Eng 
lish, 142. 

Charlevoix, Father, 123, 124, 331. 

Chemenk, 91, 92. 

Chenos, an old Indian, brings down rain, 

Cherokees, the, 64, 65, 88, 89, 95; lan 
guage of, 119, 171, 327. 

Chesapeake Bay, 50. 

Chickesaws, the, 125. 

Chmgleclamoose, 199. 

Chippeways or Algonquins, language of, 
119; xl., 90, 124, 130, 144, 176, 212. 



Choctaws, the, 1 25. 
Christian Indians, xl. 
Christinaux, the, 123. 
Clavigero, the Abbe, 331. 
Cochnevvagoes, the, a mixed race of In 
dians, 93. 
Coghnewago, 52. 
Coghnewago Hills, 52. 
Golden, Cadwallader, his History of the 

Five Indian Nations quoted, xxxii., 

xxxiv., xliii., 55> I2O< 
Collections of Maps, Historical Society, 

referred to, 93, 94. 

Colonial Records of Penna., xxxv., 178. 
Conecocheague, 341. 
Conestoga Indians, the murder of, 68, 80, 

184, 192. 
Connecticut, 94. 
Conois, the, xliv. 
Cornplanter, the, 1 1 2. 
Cornstalk, the, 89, 184. 
Coshocton, 237. 
Crantz, David, a Moravian historian, his 

History of Greenland referred to, 

Crawford. Col. William, 133; tortured 

by Indians, 284 ; dialogue with Capt. 

Wingenund, 285. 
Creeks, the, 95, 1 21, 125. 
Cushman, the Rev. Mr., of the Plymouth 

Colony, 330. 

DAVID, a Moravian Indian, 166. 
David s Path, 1 68. 
De Laet, 126. 
Delamattenos, the, 80. 
De la Ware, Lord, xliii. 
Delaware hunter and the bear (anecdote), 


Delaware Water Gap, 264. 
Denmark, 1 19. 
Detroit, xl., 49, 55, 108, no, 119, 121, 

133, 144, 171, 174, 226, 230, 258, 


Detroit Gazette quoted, 243. 
Doctol, Indian for Doctor, 231. 
Duncan, David, 280. 
Dunmore s War, 89, 263, 278. 

Du Ponceau to Heckewelder, letters of, 

353, 3 6 4, 3 6 9, 376, 379> 387, 39 2 

403, 416, 426. 

Du Ponceau to Wistar, letter of, 359. 
Du Pratz, 126. 
Dutch, Indian account of their arrival in 

New York, 71 et seq. ; xxx., xxxii., 

xxxiii., xxxiv., xxxviii., 61, 74, 75. 
Dutchemaan, the Dutch so called by the 

Indians, 60, 77. 
Du Vallon, 126. 

E ASTON, xxxv., 79, 168, 303. 
Edwards, Bryan, 331. 
Edwards, the Rev. Jonathan, 94, 125, 


Egede, P., 118. 

Eliot, the Rev. John, 94, 125, 127. 
Elliot, Matthew, 152. 
Enda Mohatink, " where human flesh 

was eaten" 200. 
Esquimaux Indians, 118. 
Etchemins, the country of the, 121. 
Evans, Mr., murder of, at Pittsburg, ill. 

FLORIDA Indians, 95, 347. 
Floridian languages, 125. 
Forks of Delaware, the, 86. 
Fort Allen, 166, 333. 
Fort Duquesne, 86. 
Fort Harmar, 112. 
Fort Mclntosh, 173, 219. 
Fort Washington, 183. 
Franklin at Fort Allen, 1 66. 
Freeman, Mr., an Indian Peace Com 
missioner, 182. 

French and Indian War, the, 67, 88. 
French Missionaries, 119. 

p AASCHTINICK or Albany, 60. 

^J Gachgawatschiqua, a Shawano chief, 


Gambold, the Rev. John, 126. 
Gelelemend or Killbuck, a Delaware 

chief, 233 ; biographical sketch of, 


Gentellemaan (gentleman), iSS. 
Georgia, 86, 121. 



Gibson, Col. John, biographical sketch of, 
48; letter to the Rev. N. Seidel, 82, 

85, 132- 

Girty, Simon, 152, 279. 

Gladwyn, Major, at Detroit, 108. 

Glicanican or Indian tobacco, 212. 

Glikhican, Isaac, a Moravian Indian, 341. 

Gnadenhiitten on the Mahoning, 91. 

Goshachking, 237, 295,327. (SeeCoshoc- 

Greenland, inhabitants of, 118; Mora 
vian mission in, ibid. 

Greentown, incident occurring at, 144. 

Greenville, treaty of, xli., 298. 

Guyandots, the, xliv. 

HARDIN, Mr., an Indian Peace Com 
missioner, 182. 
Harris, John, on the site of Harrisburg, 

90. , 

Heckewelder, the Rev. John G. E., bio 
graphical sketch of, vii. xiv. ; at De 
troit, 144 ; in Upper Canada, 1 68 ; on 
the Muskingum, 102, 171 ; associated 
with Gen. R. Putnam, 183 ; on the 
Big Beaver, 190; at Tuscarawas, 
205; at Lower Sandusky, 219; at 
New Gnadenhiitten on the Huron, 
226; dialogue with Killbuck, 234; 
dialogue with Chenos, 237; his "Col 
lection of the names of chieftains and 
eminent men of the Delaware Na 
tion alluded to, 270; general 
observations and anecdotes, 310 et 
seq ; at Post Vincennes, 311 ; at Ma 
rietta, 312; advice to travellers, 

Heckewelder to Du Ponceau, letters of, 

361, 37i, 375. 380, 383, 395. 399, 
409, 414, 422, 430. 
Heckewelder to Wistar, letters of, 356, 


Henry, Judge William, of Lancaster, 82. 
Hermit s Field, the, 200. 
Hervas, 126. 

Holland, Luke, a Delaware, 178 et seq. 
Hoosink, 255. 
Hudson s Bay Company, the, 118, 120. 

Huron River, now the Clinton, 93. 
Hurons, the, xliv.; disunited from the 
Iroquois, 119; language of, 122. 

ICELAND, 119. 
Indiana Territory, 85. 
Indian Grammars by the Spaniards, 127. 
Indians, their historical traditions, 47. 
mounds and fortifications, 48, 49. 
treatment of, by the Europeans, 76 etseq. 
general character, 100 et seq. 
belief in an all-wise and good Creator, 

or Mannito, 101. 
hospitality, 101. 
civility, 103. 
humor and wit, 104. 
respect for the aged, 104, 163 et seq. 
sense of justice, 105. 
form of government, 107. 
education of their children, 113 et seq. 
signs and hieroglyphics, 127 et seq. 
drawings, 130. 
hunters marks, 131. 
oratory, 132. 

metaphorical expressions, 137 et seq. 
names given their own people and the 

whites, 141 et-seq. 

intercourse with each other, 145 et seq. 
political manoeuvres, 150 et seq. 
manner of marriage and treatment of 

their wives, 154 et seq. 
pride and greatness of mind, 170 et seq. 
wars and the causes which lead to 

them, 175. 
manner of surprising an enemy, 177 

et seq. 

peace-messengers, 181 etseq. 
treaties of peace, 185 et seq. 
ill treatment by the whites, 187 et seq. 
food, and the manner of preparing it, 

193 et seq. 

dress, and love of ornaments, 202 et seq. 
dances, songs, and sacrifices, 208 et seq. 
scalp-whoops or yells, 215 et seq. 
alarm-whoop, 217. 
death -halloo, ib. 
physical constitution and diseases, 220 

et seq. 



Indians, materia medico., 224 et seq. 

sweat-ovens, 225. 

physicians and surgeons, 228 et seq. 

doctors or jugglers, 231 et seq. 

superstitions, 239 et seq. 

manner of initiating boys, 245. 

system of mythology, 249. 

coats-of-arms, 252. 

behaviour towards the insane, and their 
ideas regarding suicide, 257 et seq. 

drunkenness, 261 et seq. 

funerals, 268 et seq. 

friendships, 277 et seq. 

preachers and prophets, 290 et seq. 

computation of time, 306 et seq. 

astronomical and geographical knowl 
edge, 308 et seq. 

general character compared with that 

of the whites, 328 et seq. 
Iroquois, the, 95 et seq. ; supplied by the 
English with fire-arms, xxxii. ; the 
name given to the Six Nations by 
the French, xliv. ; the language, 119; 
in the State of New York, 121. 
Irvine, General William, letter to Wm. 
More, 8 1 ; letter from Washington, 

Johnson, Sir William, 68, 120. 
Juniata River, Shawanose on the, 86, 

KANAWHA, the Great, 89, 184. 
Karalit, language of the, 1 1 8. 

Kickapoos, the, 121. 

Killbuck or Gelelemend, 233 ; dialogue 
with Heckewelder, 234. 

Killistenoes, the, 95, 322. 

Knisteneaux, the, 95. 

Knox, H., Secretary of War, letter to 
Heckewelder, 311. 

Koguethagechton, Indian name of Capt. 
White Eyes, 280. 

Kuequenaku, the Indian name of Phila 
delphia, 142. 

T ABRADOR, 118. 

JLv La Chine, a murderous affair between 
two Indians at, 105. 

Laehauwake, Easton, 79- 

La Hontan, Father, xliii., 119; list of 
Indian nations, 121, 122, 124. 

Lake Erie, 49, 85. 

Lake St. Clair, 49. 

Languages, Indian, 118 et seq. 

Las Casas, 331. 

Leather Lips, a Wyandot chief, 297 ; 
death of, 298. 

Lehigh Hills, 52. 

Lehigh River, the, 52. 

Lehigh Water Gap, the, 91, 234, 334. 

Lehighton, site of Gnadenhtitten on the 
Mahoning, xxxi. 

Lenapewihittuck, the Delaware River, 

Lenni Lenape, national name of the Dela- 
wares, xxvi. ; were they or were 
they not conquered by the Mengwe ? 
xxvii. et seq.; xlii. ; wars with the 
Iroquois, xxvii.; settle on the Atlantic 
coast, xxviii. ; made women by the 
Iroquois, xxix.; on New York Island, 
xxxvii. ; in the far West, 47 ; on the 
Mississippi, 49 ; confederated with 
the Mengwe to fight the Allegewi, 
50 ; on Chesapeake Bay, ib.; on the 
Delaware, 51; consent to become 
women, 58 ; seek to gain their 
independence, 62; take up arms 
against the English, 68; assert their 
national independence, 70; their fate 
subsequent to 1763, and that of their 
kindred tribes, 83 et seq. ; their num 
ber, 85; language, 121, 124; song of 
the warriors, 2II ; ; words, phrases, 
etc., 431 et seq. ; Tortoise, Turkey, 
and Wolf tribes of, 51, 52, 253. 

Lincoln, Gen. Benjamin, 105. 

Logan, the well-known Indian chief, 89; 
his celebrated speech, 132. 

Lord s Prayer, the, in the Delaware, 424, 

Loskiel, the Rev. George H., biographi 
cal sketch of, xxix. ; his History of 
the Mission of the United Brethren 



among the Indians of North Amer 
ica " referred to, xxix., xxx., xxxvii., 
xl., 48; quoted in full touching the 
making women of the Delawares by 
the Iroquois, 59; referred to, 70, 85, 
86, 88, 90, 92, 97, 126, 134; quoted, 
206; referred to, 213, 341. 
Lower Sandusky, 159, 173. 

Tlf ^ECHACHTINNI, the name given 

iVl by the Lenape to the Senecas, 99. 

Machtitschwanne, or Massachusetts, 77. 

Mackenzie, Alexander, 1 2 1. 

Mahicanni or Mohicans, xliii., 53; their 
account of the Iroquois making 
women of the Delawares, 60 ; Mora 
vian mission among them, 93 ; called 
Mahingans, xliii., 121. 

Mahikanders or Mohicans, xliii. 

Maine, Province of, xxviii., 1 2 1. 

Manahachtanienk, New York Island, 77, 

Maqua, the Mohican name of the Six 
Nations, xliv., 98. 

Marietta, 311, 312. 

Maryland, 53, 91, 92, 122. 

Matassins, the, 123. 

McKee, Alexander, 152. 

Mechanschican, i.e. Long Knives, 142,143. 

Meigs, Return Jonathan, U. S. Agent to 
the Cherokees, 1 26. 

Memorials of the Moravian Church re 
ferred to, 302. 

Mengwe, Delaware name of the Six Na 
tions, xxvi. ; in the Great Lake re 
gion, 50; on the St. Lawrence, 54; 
their treachery toward the Lenni 
Lenape, 54, 64, 68, 98. 

Messissaugees, the, 121. 

Miamis or Twightwees, xli. ; of Lenape 
origin, 1 21 ; their country, 93. 

Michael, a Monsey buried at Bethlehem, 
206 et seq. 

Micmacs, the, 121. 

Minisink, the country of the Minsis, 52. 

Mingoes, name given to the Six Nations 
by the whites, xliv., 98, 130. 

Minsis or Monseys, 52, 53, 84, 85, 123, 

Miquon, Delaware name of William 

Penn, 66, 78, 142. 
Mississippi River, the, xxvii., xxxii., 

xxxvii., 47, 49, 51, 85, 95, 118. 
Mitchell, Mr., U. S. Agent to the Creeks, 


Mobilians, the, 126. 
Mohawks, the, xxxiv., xxxv., 61, 96, 

Mohicanichtuck, Hudson s River,xxxviii., 

52, 53, 75- 

Mohicans, xxviii., xxx., xxxiii., 71, 86. 

Monongahela River, the, 87. 

Monsonies, the, 123. 

Montreal, 105. 

Moravian Indians, the, xl., 8 1 ; settle at 
Wyalusing, 83, 197 ; settle on the 
Muskingum, 84, 85 ; at Philadelphia, 
1 66; grant of lands by Congress to, 
1 68; on the Retrenche, ibid. ; near 
Detroit, 176; murder of, on the 
Muskingum, 184, 283. 

Morgan, Col. George, 300. 

Mourigans or Mohicans, xliii. 

Muhheekanes or Mohicans, xliii. 

Munsell s Collections of tfye History of 
Albany quoted, xxxi. 

Muskanecun Hills, the, 52. 

Muskingum or Tuscarawas River, xl., 84, 
85, 102, 112, 171, 180, 252. 

Muskohgees or Creeks, 125. 

VTAMAESI SIPU, the Mississippi River, 

ll 47,49,51. 

Nanticokes, the, xxviii., xliii., 53, 83, 90 et 

seq., 122. 
Natchez, the, 126. 
Natick dialect, the, 125; Eliot s Bible 

in the Natick, 94. 
Naudowessies, the, 95, 119, 268. 
Nazareth, Capt. John at, 52, 220; the 

Barony, 336. 

Nentico or Nanticoke, xliv. 
Nescopeck, 91, 166, 333. 
New England, xxxii., 71. 



New London, 94. 

New York Island, xxxvi., xxxvii., 72, 208. 

Niagara, xl., 174. 

Nocharauorsul, the ground hog, myth of, 


Nordmann s Kill, xxx., xxxi., xxxv. ,60,61 . 
North River, the, xxxvii., 51. 
Nova Scotia, 121, 123. 

OHIO, an Iroquois word, 48 ; the river, 
84, 86, 87, 339. 

Onas, Iroquois for William Penn, 142. 

Oneida, 93. 

Oneidas, the, 96, 99. 

Ongwe-honwe, the name given them 
selves by the Iroquois, xxxiv. 

Onondagoes, the, 96, 99. 

Openagi, the, xliii. 

Openangoes, the, 121. 

Otayachgo, Mohican name of the Nan- 
ticokes, 92. 

Ottawas, the, xl., xli. 

Owl Creek, 168. 


1 ware chief, 80. 

Papunhank, a Monsey, 197. 

Pascagoulas, the, 125. 

Paxnos, a Shawano chief, 88. 

Penn, William, 66, 107, 331. 

Pequods, the, 94. 

Perth Amboy, 148. 

Philadelphia, Shawanose on the site of, 
86 ; Indians on the site of, 148. 

Pilgerruh, a Moravian Mission, 85. 

Pine Plains, Dutchess Co., N. Y., 93. 

Pine Swamp, the, 1 66, 200. 

Pipe, a Delaware chief, biographical 
sketch of, 133 ; speech at Detroit, 
ibid., 151, 152, I53>338,347. 

Pipe of Peace, 109. 

Pittsburg, 69, 70, 86; Mr. Evans mur 
dered at, in, 184, 190, 192, 279. 

Point Pleasant, 89, 184. 

Pontiac, 108. 

Potomac River, the, 51, 90. 
Pottowatomies, the, xli., 121. 

roctor, General Thomas, 295. 
roud s History of Pennsylvania quoted, 

D sindamocan, a preparation of Indian 
corn, 195. 

Putnam, General Rufus, 183, 311. 

Pyrlseus, the Rev. J. Christopher, bio 
graphical sketch of, xxx. ; his collec 
tion of Indian traditions in MS., 54 ; 
account of the conspiracy of the Five 
Nations quoted, 56; quoted, 61, 91, 
96; Indian tradition quoted, 251, 

r\UAEKELS, Quakers so called by the 
\J, Indians, 143. 
Quebec, 78. 

Moravian Missionary, 93. 

River Indians, Mohicans so called, 
xxxiv., xliii. 

Robbins and Arundel, Messrs., 173. 

Rochefort, 126. 

Rocky Mountains, 118. 

Rogers s Key into the Langitage of the In 
dians of A r ew England referred to, 

Rosenbaum, Cornelius, a Delaware, 264 ; 
dialogue with Heckewelder, 265. 

his Dictionary, 120, 127. 
Samuel, a Moravian Indian, 220. 
Sandusky, 153, 172; Crawford s campaign 

against, 284. 
Sankhicanni, name given by the Lenape 

to the Mohawks, 99. 
Savannah, 86, 121. 
Schatikooks or Mohicans, xliii. 
Scheyichbi, Indian name of New Jersey, 


Schussele s painting, " The Power of the 

Gospel," 294. 
Schuylkill River, the, 86. 
Schwannack, i. e., "salt beings," 142. 
Schweinitz s Life of Zehberger referred 

to, 63, 8l. 



Senecas, 55, 69, 96, 99. 

Sganarady, a Mohawk chief s account of 

the origin of the Indians, 61, 250. 
Sganiateratich-rohne, the Iroquois name 

of the Nanticokes, 92. 
Shamokin, 91, 178. 
Shawanose, the, xxxix., xli., 85 et seq. ; 

121, 130. 

Shechschequon, 91. 

Shenango, 91. 

Shikilimus at Shamokin, 88. 

Shingask, 269; funeral of his wife, 270 etseq. 

Shummunk, 91. 

Silver Heels, a Shawano, 278. 

Sioux or Assiniboils, the, 119. 

Six Nations or Mengwe, their manner of 
attaining to power, xxxii. et seq. ; how 
they lost their power, xxxix. et seq. ; 
xliv. ; eat human flesh, 55; unable 
to conquer the Delawares, 56; their 
scheme to make women of the Del 
awares, ib.; insult the Delawares, 67, 

Snake Indians, the, 12 1. 

Soccokis, the, 121. 

Souriquois, the, 1 21. 

Sproat, Col. Ebenezer, 312. 

"Sfar in the West, A" referred to, 331. 

Steiner, the Rev. Abraham, 49. 

Stenton, John, 333 ; his place attacked 
by Indians, 334, 335. 

St. Lawrence, the, xxviii., xxxvii., 54, 56, 

93, 95- 

St. Pierre, the, 119. 
Stockbridge, 93. 

Susquehanna River, the, 50, 52, 90. 
Sussee Indians, the, 121. 
Sweat-ovens, 226. 
Sweden, 119. 

yADEUSKUND or Honest John, 302. 
1 Tallegewi, the, 48, 49. 
Tamanend, 300. 
Tamaqua, or King Beaver, 269. 
Tammany Society, the, 301. 
Tar-he, a Wyandot chief, 298. 
Tassmanane, a preparation of Indian 
corn, 195. 

Tatemy, Moses, Brainerd s interpreter, 

302, 307, 337. 
Tawachguano, Delaware name of the 

Nanticokes, 92. 
Tawalsantha, Indian name of Norman s 

Kill, xxxi. 
Tecumseh, 295. 

Thomas, a Susquehanna Indian at Beth 
lehem, 267. 

Thomson, Charles, xxxvi. 
Thorhallesen, 118. 

Transactions of the Massachusetts His 
torical Society referred to, 94. 
Trappers, the, Nanticokes so called, 92. 
Treaties held with the Indians between 

1740 and 1760, xxxv. 
Trueman, Mr., an Indian Peace Commis 
sioner, 182. 

TrumbulFs History of Connecticut re 
ferred to, 94. 
Tschachgoos, the, 142. 
Tuscarawas, the river, 85 ; the town, 


Tuscaroras, the, 96, 99, 327. 
Twightwees or Miamis, the, 121. 


vJ Unalachtgo, Turkey Delawares, 51, 

53, 253. 

Unamis or Turtles, 51, 53, 124, 250. 
Unechtgo, Delaware name of Nanticokes, 

Upper Sandusky, 173. 


V 125,126. 

Vincennes, Post, 183, 311. 
Virginia, xxviii., 53, 71, 90, 122. 
Virginians or " Long Knives," 76. 
Vblnqfs View of the Soil and Climate of 
the United States referred to, 256. 

W ABASH RIVER, the, 85, 183. 
Waketemeki, 230. 
Wampum, 109. 
Wangomend, a Monsey preacher, 293 et 

Wapanachki, xliii., 121, 123, 124, 126. 



Wapsid Lenape, i. e. the white people, 

Wawundochwalend, a chief of the Tus- 
caroras, 206. 

Wayne, Gen l Anthony, xli., 89, 133, 192. 

Weiser, Conrad, xxx., xxxi., 54. 

Weissport, 1 66. 

Wells, William, and the bear, 256. 

Wetterholt, Captain Jacob, 334. 

White, a Nanticoke chief, 90, 92. 

White Eyes, Capt., a chief of the West 
ern Delawares, xxxix. ; biographical 
sketch of, 69, 151, 152, 153, 279. 

Whitefield, the Rev. George, 52, 336, 

Williamson, Capt. David, in command 
of militia at Gnadenhtitten on Mus- 
kingum, 8 1 ; his expedition by whom 
authorized, 283, 286. 

Wingenund, Capt., a Delaware, 279, 
284; dialogue with Col. Crawford, 
285 et seq. 

Wistar to Heckewelder, letters of, 354, 

Wolf tribe of Delawares, 52, 253. 

Womelsdorf, xxx. 

W Tassone, name given by the Lenape 

to the Oneidas, 99. 
Wyalusing, 83, 196. 
Wyandots, xl., xli., xliv., 95, 119, 130. 
Wyoming, 79, 91, 92, 166. 

WENGEES ( Yankees}, 77, 142, 143. 

yELSBERGER, the Rev. David, ref- 
" erence to his Essay of a Delaware 
and English Spelling- Book, xliii., 
125; biographical sketch of, 63; 
quoted, 97 ; his German Iroquois 
Dictionary, 97, 120, 347 ; his opinion 
of the Iroquois language, I2O; his 
Grammar of the Lenni Lenape lan 
guage, 125, 127, 166, 279; dialogue 
with Indian David, 167; at Gosch- 
goschink, 293, 338, 347. 
Zinzendorf, Count Nicholas Lewis, in 
Penna., xxx. ; among the Shawanose 
of Wyoming, 88, 337. 

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